‘Tis the Season for Gigs!

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

www.gianlucarenzi.com/

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/

Montclair Social Club Wednesday’s (and sometimes Thursday)

We’re now in our fourth month of Wednesday nights at Montclair Social Club. It’s interesting to hold my weekly gig and jam session at such an upscale place. We are really tasked with making the jam session consumable by their already substantial regular customer base. So the mission for Wednesdays is three fold. 1) present a high level house band set with international artists, 2) provide a space for younger musicians to play with and hang out with the master musicians who stop by every week 3) bring in new listeners from the sophisticated crowd who love the great food, cocktails and stylish decor of the Montclair Social Club.

So far so good. We have really built up a new scene which blends perfectly with this great venue. To keep the flow through the holidays, we are moving the event to Thursday night on December 26th and Jan 2nd. Then we’ll be back to Wednesday nights for 2020. If you haven’t stopped by yet. Please join the fun during this holiday season.

Lenny White 70th Birthday Celebration

Master drummer and producer, Lenny White turns 70 today, December 19th. I’ve been an admirer of Lenny’s since I started listening to jazz. He appears on many albums that have been influential to me. About five years ago I started playing with him in Wallace Roney’s Orchestra and we did several Wallace Roney Quintet gigs together as well. He plays on my newest CD “A Song For All of Us” and has done several gigs supporting this project.

This January Lenny celebrates his milestone birthday with two weekends of performances at Made In New York Jazz Club in Brooklyn. He as a different band each night. I’m beyond excited to be performing with him on January 5th (sets at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm). We’ll be featuring music from my CD on this evening along with Ed Howard, Dave Stryker, and, of course, Lenny White. Check out the full schedule of bands that will be performing for this landmark run of gigs. Other musicians featured will be Buster Williams, Christian McBride, Chris Potter, Dave Liebman, and other luminaries.