Welcome to mikeleejazz.com. Emerging from the Pandemic appears to be upon us, ready or not. There’s some exciting new developments this summer. The gigs are coming in every day and we hope to be up to full steam sharing the music very soon. Please have a look around, watch some video, read an article, and subscribe to our newsletter!
This week’s Father’s Day episode of the renowned “Jazz Night In America” National Public Radio broadcast features Julian and me in a Father/Son segment that was beautifully produced by Alex Ariff and Narrated by Christian McBride. Joe Lovano and Wynton Marsalis weigh in on the discussion and there are a variety of musical selections featuring one or both of us. Many other musicians are heard including Loston Harris, Isaiah Thompson, Lenny White, Gianluca Renzi, The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra. My other children, Matthew and Jacquie can also be heard in some of the incidental music as well. And of course there is some insightful and funny dialog from my amazing wife, Rebecca.
It was a dream come true to be interviewed with my wife and my son in this context. It was truly special to hear about Julian’s upbringing in music from his vantage point. You can listen to the episode tonight (Saturday June 19th) at 11 pm on New Jersey’s own WBGO, or anytime at the NPR website.
As we find ourselves playing live gigs again, I’m thrilled to be joining Nat Adderley Jr. for the fourth time this month. This trip takes the quartet to Washington, DC to the venerated Takoma Station Tavern. Nat’s group plays many of the hits of his long time associate, Luther Vandross, in a jazz setting as well as plenty of jazz standards with a strong dose of his father’s and uncle’s (Nat Sr. and Cannonball) music. It’s starting to feel like pre-pandemic times getting to play with these great musicians. Drummer Vince Ector and bassist Kenny Davis round out the group.
NAT ADDERLEY JR. TRIO – TAKOMA STATION TAVERN
- Saturday, June 26, 2021
- Takoma Station6914 4th Street Northwest Washington, DC, 20012United States
2 Shows – 5 pm & 8 pm
Limited Seats Doors open @ 4 pm
General Admission – $40
Nat Adderley Jr. – Piano
Mike Lee – Tenor Saxophone and Flute
Kenny Davis – Bass
Vince Ector – Drums
Tickets: 301-501-3812 or 301-661-5448
This is the opening tune from a set of music played on May 9th as part of Gianluca Renzi’s Harlem Home Sessions. His recording and mixing technique is truly studio quality. Please check out more from this concert series on Gianluca’s Channel. For me this was an inspirational set with two of my closest musical collaborators. It was one of “those” gigs where everything just felt right. These two musicians are extraordinary instrumentalists and extremely intuitive empathetic musicians. Enjoy! Gianluca Renzi – bass Mike Lee – Tenor Saxophone Alvester Garnett – drums Mike Lee plays a P. Mauriat System 76 Tenor saxophone, Vandoren V16 8,5 Large Chamber Mouthpiece, and V16 #3 Tenor reeds.
"Too Marvelous For Words" by Loston Harris Quartet - (Virtual Songs #27)
We’ve been recording a virtual playlist for you over the past few months. We’ve already got 27 tunes up on YouTube and other social media. Here’s our rendition of “Too Marvelous For Words.”
Last September, The Loston Harris Trio spent an amazing week in Melbourne Australia at Bird’s Basement. I just discovered this edited video from that engagement. It Features Loston Harris on piano and Gianluca Renzi on bass. Enjoy!
One crazy thing about this quarantine life is that we’re all feeling it. We might be tempted to feel sorry for ourselves, but no-one is immune from the effects. News today about another dear friend passing breaks the spell of this isolated world. Spending my days playing music with my wife and children is a dream come true, but it is spoiled by the horrific nightmare that rages on around us.
Here are several recent videos family videos from the last month of quarantine. From my family to yours.
In light of our current state of isolation due to Covid-19. A lot of us are having more time to practice. Here is my recent YouTube post about 5 elements around which you can organize your daily practice. This is directed primarily towards improvising saxophonists, but will hopefully be useful for all musicians. Take a listen!
Peter Lin is an exceptional trombonist and budding entrepreneur. Since he came on the scene over a decade ago as a student at William Paterson he has distinguished himself as a forward thinking contributor to the jazz community. I was so honored that he asked to interview me as part of his jazz business series produced by his company, Yardbird Suite Entertainment.
This was done on March 10th, just a few days before we all went into isolation because of Covid -19. The last segment about “Mike’s perfect day” is a little too prophetic. I didn’t mean like this! This interview was a long one. We’ve known each other for so long, there was so much to talk about and Peter let me talk! I was surprised with what came out of my own mouth. The interview is indexed so you can bounce around to topics that interest you (See below the video). Enjoy.
I’m finding that running from gig to rehearsal to gig to concert every day is something that requires endurance. That endurance can expand with regular use. There’s not much time to reflect on what just happened or what’s coming up next week. Even less time to blog or post. All my energy lately has been focused on what is in front of me today. But I’m taking advantage of a temporary lull in action to post about some particularly exciting performances before heading out to drop my daughter at her gig on the way to the first of my two gigs this evening.
Let me start with Bemelman’s bar with Loston Harris and Gianluca Renzi. Even thought this is my “regular hotel gig,” it’s so much more. We play improvised music based in American Songbook for several hours three to five nights a week. This is an amazing opportunity for musical development. Loston and Gianluca are young masters and challenge me constantly. We also have been traveling the globe with this band when we’re not holding court at the famed Carlyle Hotel. Catch us on Dec 19, 20th, 26th, 27th, 28th, and 31st – the end of our Fall run.
This Saturday, December 21st, I am truly excited to be performing again with the Roy Hargrove Tribute Big Band at the Jazz Gallery. This was the venue where we played the final two Roy Hargrove Big Band gigs before he tragically died last year. Roy was one of the true greats who passed way too soon. This band will reflect Roy’s expansive vision and brilliant repertoire.
This Sunday, December 22nd, I’m thrilled to play trio with my bandmate from Loston Harris’ Trio, Gianluca Renzi on Bass with Anwar Marshall on Drums at the Bar Next Door in Greenwich Village
Next Thursday, December 26th, my son Julian Lee, bassist Chris Berger, and drummer Alvester Garnett will be hosting my weekly gig at Montclair Social Club. Please note it will be on THURSDAY night rather than our usual Wednesday night.
Friday January 3rd, Loston Harris Trio plays Scullers in Boston.
Sunday January 5th Lenny White’s 70th birthday celebration at Made in New York Jazz Club in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about that here: https://mikeleejazz.com/2019/12/19/lenny-white-70th-birthday-celebration/