Thankful at the Birdland Theater!

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. 

Make your reservation now by clicking on your preferred set time below:

Thursday Nov 25th 8:30 pm

Friday Nov 26th 7:00 pm 

Friday Nov 26th 9:30 pm

Saturday Nov 27th 7:00 pm

Saturday Nov 27th 9:30 pm

Loston Quartet at Birdland Theater

Join us in the Birdland Theater for a weekend with Loston Harris! Catch him November 25th with sets at 8:30pm!
  • 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.

Back At It With the Loston Harris Trio!

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)

Candlelight Lounge Trenton

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. 

SATURDAY October 23
Candlelight Jazz Matinee
$10 minimum

Candlelight Lounge 24 Passaic Street Trenton, NJ 08618

‘Tis the Season for Gigs!

Jazz to College Comprehensive

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:

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.

Frank Lacy Plays the Music Of Henry Threadgill (and More)

Tuesday June 18– We’re back! After two fantastic gigs with this forward thinking group in April, Frank Lacy Septet returns to Smalls Jazz Club NYC. New music penned by Frank Lacy and reworking of Henry Threadgill’s sextet music. Come see his genius in action. Frank Lacy, trombone/trumpet – Mike Lee, woodwinds – Brian Simontacchi, trombone – Akua Dixon, cello – James Robbins, bass – Wen-ting Wu, drums – Brandon Lewis, drums. Smalls Jazz Club|183 West 10th Street|New York City, New York| Smalls does not take reservations – it is a first come/first serve admission policy. Cover:$20 Per Set $10 Students Sets at 10:30 and Midnight.

Loston Harris at Bemelman’s Bar

Five nights this week (Tuesday through Saturday) I will be performing with the Great Loston Harris at Bemelman’s Bar. This is an amazing experience. Please come out and mingle with celebrities as we explore the magic of the Great American Songbook. 

Loston Harris Trio at Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel
35 East 76th St., New York,
New York 10021
T: +1 212 744 1600
Tuesday – Saturday June 11 – 15
Loston Harris – piano and vocals
Mike Lee – Saxophone
Gianluca Renzi – Bass
9:30 pm until 12:30 am  (1:00 pm Fri & Sat)

What follow is a reprint of a post I made back in December about the gig with Loston:

For the past six years I’ve been playing regularly in the Loston Harris Trio. I started subbing in the band at Bemelman’s bar at the Carlyle Hotel and then doing most of the band’s road work and finally becoming the regular saxophonist about three years ago. I’m surprised that even though I play about 80 gigs a year with Loston,many people with whom I interact often aren’t aware of this trio or our regular venue – Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Here’s the low-down:

Loston is brilliant. As a pianist he is exceptional – Early in his career he toured and recorded with Wynton Marsalis. On our instrumental selections he plays with fire and technical facility that would rival any pianist. As a vocalist he is sublime with a deep affinity for Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. He deals with the nuance of lyrics and standard repertoire with a professionalism and ease that makes him one of the brightest stars of jazz and the American Songbook.

Loston Harris Trio at Bemelman’s

The gig at Bemelman’s Bar is magical. Named in honor of Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the classic Madeline children’s books, the club features his artwork on the walls and even on the lampshades at your table.   We play jazz. We play some instrumental tunes every set from Thelonious Monk, Benny Golson, Dave Brubeck and many others. The vocal selections also can have long solo sections where we stretch and “work it out” on the gig. We’re set up in the middle of the room where we are part of the crowd. The crowd is part of the atmosphere. Movie stars, musical celebrities, political figures show up with great regularity. By no stretch is this a “listening” room, but every night we “win” the room by turning the boisterous crowd into an appreciative audience. It feels like a throwback to the 1930’s with an adoring crowd cheering, shouting, and having great merriment.

This is a musically demanding situation. I’ve learned more from this gig than any other gig or situation in my life. Playing night after night, learning the ins and outs of so much amazing repertoire with two inventive intelligent, enthusiastic band mates (the great Gianluca Renzi plays bass!) has caused me to dig deeper and hear more music than I ever thought I would at this advanced stage of my career. There is no teacher like a nightly gig. Playing at Bemelman’s 3, 4, or 5 nights a week for two and a half months twice a year has been a revelation.

It’s not cheap. There is a $25 cover weeknights and $35 on the weekends ($15 at the bar) and the drinks are expensive. But I feel every music fan needs to see this place at least once to see music in close proximity to a real engaged crowd.

Nat Adderley Jr. Quartet at Clements Place – This Friday!

The Nat Adderley Jr. Quartet just back from Austin, Texas where we performed a tribute concert to Nancy Wilson with wonderful singers from the area. Nat is an amazing musician and musical spirit. His sense of humor and generosity spill over into all facets of his personality and musicality. We will be performing repertoire from Nat’s tenure with the iconic Luther Vandross, as well as music associated with the Adderley legacy. The cover is FREE – there are even refreshments for FREE and it’s just a few minutes from the Montclair/Oranges area in the heart of Newark. Even though there is no cost, you must reserve a seat for this likely-to-be-sold-out event.

Fri, June 7, 2019
7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Clement’s Place
15 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Clement’s Place is pleased to present music legend Nat Adderley Jr., best known for his work with the great Luther Vandross.

About this Event

Clement’s Place is pleased to present music legend Nat Adderley Jr., best known for his work with the great Luther Vandross. He wrote and arranged Luther’s first top 20 pop hit, Stop to Love and other hits, including Wait for Love, and the Grammy-nominated Give Me the Reason. Nat also arranged many of Luther’s most popular records, including Superstar, Here and Now, If Only for One Night, Creepin’, If This World Were Mine, So Amazing, There’s Nothing Better Than Love, Never Too Much, and Love Won’t Let Me Wait. Nat was Luther’s musical director from 1981 until his death.

A member of jazz royalty, (his father Nat, Sr. and his uncle Julian “Cannonball” were superstars), Nat has also lent his talents to other artists including Kirk Whalum, Natalie Cole, Johnny Gill, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Lynne, the Temptations, Ruben Studdard, Paulette McWilliams, Jaheim, and Doc Powell.

Recently, Nat has returned to his jazz roots, recording with Jay Hoggard and Nicholas Bearde and performing in clubs and festivals in New York, California, Asia, and Europe with Tom Scott, clarinetist Don Byron, Eric Darius, as well as with his own quartet and in solo performances.

Nat brings his signature blend of soul infused, swinign jazz to his Clement’s Place debut.

Don’t miss this great evening!

Free and open to the public

Seating is limited