Mike Lee: My Backyard
Lee engages in some – tenor madness – on the fervent hard bop-ish opener, “Just North of Normal”, featuring the artist’s diffusing lines along with crisp support from a hustling and bustling rhythm section while guitarist John Hart serves as an incomparable foil for the leader. Lee’s “Sidewalk Seven” features a trace of samba amid linear movements and inviting motifs as the leader steers the ensemble through a few variations of the primary theme. However, the band alters the peppery flow with an enticing blues ballad, titled “Sinuosity” where the musicians incorporate a loosely swinging vibe in accordance with some affably suggestive call and response dialogue between Lee and Hart, augmented by solid rhythmic accompaniment here and throughout.
Violinist Rebecca Harris-Lee (Mike Lee’s better half) and Hart render sonorous unison choruses in conjunction with a memorably melodic motif atop a 4 bar blues interlude on the enchanting, “Crooked Halo”. Here, pianist Matt Ray counterbalances the richly thematic proceedings with daintily executed voicings and progressions as the band finalizes the set with a series of vicious alternating fours on their brisk version of Charlie Parker’s, “Relaxin’ at Camarillo”.....Recommended!
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Track Listing: 1) Just North of Normal 2) Her Hair, Full Of Heavenly Glamour.. 3) Sidewalk Seven 4) Stardust 5) Sandals And Seashells 6) Sinuosity 7) Crooked Halo 8) Message From Home 9) Secular Living 10) Relaxin
Personnel: Mike Lee; tenor & soprano saxophones, clarinet: John Hart; guitar: Matt Ray; piano: Andy McKee; bass: Tim Horner; drums: Rebecca Harris-Lee; violin
Record Label: OmniTone