Welcome to mikeleejazz.com. Ready or not, the world is coming back. The gigs are coming in every day and a full time performance schedule. Please have a look around, watch some video, read an article, and subscribe to our newsletter!
We’re beyond excited to be continuing this return to live music performance at Birdland Theater in the famed Birdland Jazz Club.
As we’ve continued our residency at Bemelman’s Bar this fall, we’ve rediscovered our intimate musical rapport. The music has more meaning and poignancy having experienced the an extended period without each other and without our audiences.
Now we’re taking it up a notch to play in this beautiful concert setting. This is a true band that has honed our sound and style over years of close interaction on the bandstand. These musicians are some of my closest friend as well as world class artists.
Loston’s sound is that of a seasoned vocalist reminiscent of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, while also relying on his pianistic brilliance to elicit distinctive, virtuosic improvisation.
I hope you will join us this upcoming Thursday, Friday or Saturday for a soulful evening.
Loston Quartet at Birdland Theater
- Loston Harris : (piano and vocals)
- Mark Whitfield: (guitar)
- Gianluca Renzi: (acoustic bass)
- Mike Lee: (saxophone)
Meet Loston Harris. His piano playing has been described as “percussive” with “incredibly fluid”. His vocals noted as “suave.”
Loston himself will tell you he has worked hard during his career but knows he’s been blessed with the opportunities to play the music closest to his heart, jazz. Loston is doing his part to continue a legacy by blending traditional jazz, gospel and blues with his own unique stylings.
Loston’s musical future began at a surreal pace. After meeting Harry Connick Jr. at the 1st Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition in Washington, D.C., Harry led Loston to study with his mentor, Ellis Marsalis, who encouraged him to switch instruments from drums to piano. And the rest, as they say, is history…
Frank Sinatra, Bobby Short and Nat King Cole can rest comfortably knowing that Loston Harris is keeping the flame alive.
As difficult and painful as this period has been for the world, we sometimes see a silver lining emerge in the midst of tragedy. In September of last year, my sons moved out of our house. Our oldest Julian moved to Brooklyn and Matthew started his college experience at Juilliard. Suddenly I found myself home every night and getting to really spend time with my wife and daughter. That was a real treat, but as the days turned to weeks and months, my daughter Jacquie and I found ourselves practicing together for hours on end. Already a gifted violinist and improvisor, this time together allowed her to attain a facility with improvisation language that few teenagers possess. Her new found talent is a blessing but it is only a glimpse of the real blessing of growing so close to her and having her join me and her brothers on the “Scene.”
We will celebrate her arrival this Wednesday Night at Clement’s place in Newark joined by her brothers and a couple more members of our extended music family.
Wednesday, October 20,2021
Sets at 7:00 and 8:20
Jazz973 at Clements Place Presents:
Mike Lee Family Band Introducing Jacquie Lee
It’s FREE, but you must secure your tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/192957750827
Featuring Jacquie Lee – Violin with:
Julian lee – Sax
Matthew Lee – Drums
Mike Lee – Sax
Rebecca Lee – Violin
Liany Mateo -Bass
Nat Adderley Jr. – Piano
After a year and a half off, we’re back for our bi-annual residency at Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel! Loston Harris has been a fixture at the Carlyle for almost twenty years and I’ve been with him for most of the past decade. Bemelman’s is an exquisite venue filled with artistes, celebrities and characters of all stripes. Loston is a phenomenal vocalist and pianist. We play a wide range of American Songbook and Jazz Standards. It’s truly a remarkable scene. Please join us! I’ll be with Loston every Thursday Friday and Saturday night through the end of the year.
Join us as we Celebrate our return to The Carlyle, NYC on Oct.21 – Dec. 31, 2021. Thur. (9:30pm – 12:30am); Fri. & Sat. (9:30pm – 1am)
The Candlelight Lounge in Trenton, NJ, is a gem of a jazz club. It reminds me of the neighborhood clubs I grew up playing at in Cleveland, OH. The folks love the music. It’s a Saturday Matinee schedule so we can make our evening gigs in New York. E C Bradley is the proprietor and bar tender, and his wife, Valerie serves up an amazing meal.
This Saturday we’ll be performing with Radam Schwartz Quartet featuring Bryan Carrot and Andrew Atkinson. Featuring music from Radam’s “Both Sides of the Organ Combo” CD.
Candlelight Lounge 24 Passaic Street Trenton, NJ 08618
Things are bounding back to normal! It’s hard to fathom that a month ago I was barely gigging and now it’s back to a schedule reminiscent of 2019. This week my youngest child, Jacquie, takes a huge step forward in her blossoming career as a jazz violinist. She will be hosting a student jam session at Montclair’s classic Barbeque joint – Ruthie’s BBQ and Pizza. Then Friday and Saturday I will return to the Jazz Gallery in New York for a reunion of Roy Hargrove’s Big Band, celebrating his life and music. Also Saturday afternoon I’ll be taking the stage at the Kean University Jazz Festival with the Nat Adderley Jr. Quartet
Ruthie’s Bar-B-Q Student Jam Session
Thursday October 14th 6 pm until 9 pm
Hosted By Jacquie Lee (Violin)
Featuring Derrick Campos (Guitar), Michael Topping (Bass) and
Gilad Perlman (Drums).
Join us this Thursday Night at 6 pm as Ruthie’s Bar-B-Q and Pizza hosts an open jazz jam session for students. Led by up and coming 16-year-old violinist Jacquie Lee, the house band will open with a short set then segue directly into an open jazz jam. Bring your horn and your appetite!
Thursday October 14th 6 pm until 9 pm Ruthie’s Bar-B-Q and Pizza
64 1/2 Chestnut St, Montclair, NJ
Food Minimum is $8
An Evening Celebrating Roy Hargrove’s 52nd Birthday with Big Band directed by Jason Marshall
- Friday, October 15, 2021 &
- Saturday October 16, 2021
- The Jazz Gallerywww.jazzgallery.org (map)
- Google Calendar ICS
with special guests Renee Neufville & Lezlie Harrison – vocals
Brandon McCune -piano
Danton Boller -bass
Saul Rubin –guitar
Jerome Jennings -drums
Since its founding in 1995 by Roy Hargrove, Dale Fitzgerald, and Lezlie Harrison, New York City’s The Jazz Gallery has been a key institution in the city’s jazz and creative music scene. Known as “the most imaginatively booked jazz club in New York” (New York Times), The Gallery has welcomed and nurtured several generations of musicians from around the world, including many who have gone on to critical acclaim as Grammy Award® nominees and winners, MacArthur Fellows, Thelonious Monk Competition winners and finalists, Critics’ Poll-winners, and headliners at major international festivals.
Saturday, October 16
Nat Adderley Jr. Quartet
Kean University Jazz & Roots Music Festival
Rain Date: October 17
- Free Outdoor Concert
- Live Music
- Food Trucks
Pack a picnic basket — or visit the food trucks when you get here — and bring a blanket or chair to the inaugural Jazz & Roots Music Festival, a free outdoor music concert on The Lawn at Enlow Hall in Hillside NJ. Performing at the music festival is pianist/composer Nat Adderley Jr.; rap and hip-hop artist JSWISS, featuring Casey Benjamin and Mark Whitfield; the jazz group Dave Stryker Quartet; and the evening’s headliner — the Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Latin Experience.
For more information, email email@example.com.
- 4:30 p.m. – Nat Adderley Jr.
- 5:15 p.m. – JSWISS, featuring Casey Benjamin & Mark Whitfield
- 6:00 p.m. – Dave Stryker Quartet
- 7:00 p.m. – Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Latin Experience
The Lawn at Enlow Hall
215 North Avenue, Hillside, NJ
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!