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Take Five With Scott Lee

Take Five With Scott Lee
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Meet Scott Lee:

Scott Lee switched from a career in tennis at UNC-CH to jazz, after hearing the Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
Trio. Arriving in NY in the '70s, he worked with Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
1929 - 1988
trumpet
, Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
b.1927
sax, alto
, Al Cohn
Al Cohn
Al Cohn
1925 - 1988
sax, tenor
, Red Rodney
Red Rodney
Red Rodney
1927 - 1994
trumpet
, Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
1938 - 2008
trumpet
, Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
, Kenny Werner
Kenny Werner
Kenny Werner
b.1951
piano
, Andy Statman, Chris Conner, Morgana King
Morgana King
Morgana King
b.1930
vocalist
, Helen Merrill
Helen Merrill
Helen Merrill
b.1929
vocalist
, Betty Buckley
Betty Buckley
b.1947
vocalist
, and Anita O'Day
Anita O'Day
Anita O'Day
1919 - 2006
vocalist
.

In the orchestral world, he has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the world premiere of Charles Ives' "Universe Symphony." Scott has three CDs as leader/composer: With Ease, One Though, and Leaving.

He has finished his first book, Playing the Body Playing the Bass, created the DVD, Qi Gong for Musicians, and is a Reiki Master.

Instrument(s):

Acoustic and electric basses.

Teachers and/or influences? Charlie Banacos, Dave Holland
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
b.1946
bass
, Tiny Martin, Homer Mensch. Influenced by years of playing with Joe Lovano and Kenny Werner.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I heard Eddie Gomez
Eddie Gomez
Eddie Gomez
b.1944
bass
playing with the Bill Evans Trio in Raleigh, N.C., in 1970, and decided that I wanted to be a bassist. I quit the tennis team at UNC-CH and started playing the bass.

Your sound and approach to music: I prefer an old school, "air-pushing" and decaying sound, yet one that has a modern point to the note that adds definition. I like being able to play all kinds of music, but really love playing melody driven music that has an organic mix of the written and freely improvised.

Your teaching approach: I try to take each student as having their own unique potential, and always begin with a focus on learning how to learn. I stress concentration, relaxation, and enjoyment of the process.

Your dream band:

The group that is on my latest CD on Steeplechase, Leaving, satisfies on all levels: Billy Drewes, Gary Versace
Gary Versace
Gary Versace

organ, Hammond B3
, and Jeff Hirshfield
Jeff Hirshfield
Jeff Hirshfield
b.1955
drums
can play any level of difficulty and interact fluently with all kinds of improvisational options.

Road story: Your best or worst experience: Chet Baker asked me, Phil Markowitz and Jeff Brillinger if we knew the old tun "Milestones," and we all said "no." So, he says "One, Two, One-Two-Three-Four!" We had to play a tune we did not know, and it was a live recording and radio broadcast throughout northern Europe.

Favorite venue:

The Village Vanguard.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? One Thought (Steeplechase Records). I love the interaction of the two saxophonists (Loren Stillman
Loren Stillman
Loren Stillman
b.1980
sax, alto
and Andrew Rathbun
Andrew Rathbun
Andrew Rathbun

saxophone
). And George Colligan
George Colligan
George Colligan
b.1969
keyboard
really plays beautifully with Jeff Hirshfield.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Kind of Blue.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I think that my tunes combine a melodic underpinning to a modern concept of having the written sound like the freely improvised. I am always seeking the marriage of the loose and the organized.

Did you know...

I love to read, and my hobby is studying things that have to with Eastern martial arts and energy work.

CDs you are listening to now:

Owen Howard
Owen Howard
Owen Howard

drums
, Drumlore (BJU Records);

Rez Abbasi
Rez Abbasi
Rez Abbasi

guitar
, Snake Charmer (Earth Sounds);

Joe Lovano, Folk Art (Blue Note);

Kenny Werner, Democracy.

Desert Island picks:

Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
, Native Dancer;

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue;

Take Six, Take Six;

Any and all Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin

vocalist
and Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
b.1950
keyboard
;

John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, Greatest Hits.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Vibrant, amazing, fertile...and yet, the fan base is too small and only the top-tier players can expect to make a decent living.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? The music schools are the main engine for creating young lovers and supporters of the music.

What is in the near future? I have a new recording with a tenor trio group featuring Andrew Rathbun and Jeff Hirshfield, with compositions from Andrew and myself. And we just recorded another CD with the same group as on Leaving, with Billy Drewes, Gary Versace, and Jeff Hirshfield, that showcase more of Billy's compositions.

By Day:

I am a father of a teenage daughter and teach privately in NYC and am a faculty member in the jazz department at Kutztown University.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Tennis or golf instructor, or acupuncturist.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Scott Lee

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