469

Mike Lee: Above The Battleground

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Based in New York City, Multi-Reedman Mike Lee has been receiving a good deal of attention these days and deservedly so. Lee’s work with “The Village Vanguard Orchestra”, Maria Schneider, performances with Sax titan Joe Lovano, gigs with Louie Bellson and others find Mike Lee in estimable company.

On his latest CD “Above The Battleground”, Lee enlists Trumpeter Tim Hagans, Bassist Ben Allison, Pianist Matt Lee and Drummer Tim Horner. Here, Lee steps out as a first class composer, fine group leader and displays seasoned and proficient chops. On “Desert Storm”, Lee comes across authoritatively with a commanding Tenor Sax delivery. Ben Allison and Tim Horner make for a fertile rhythm section as they frequently provide the sturdy backbone for ongoing dynamics as in Lee’s “Holy Instant” where Lee picks up the Clarinet and rides atop a bouncy and cheerful melody line. The thematic movements are clear, concise and well stated. Lee is impressive on the licorice stick as he institutes phrasing that is clear toned and fluent. The standard “The Best Things in Life Are Free” is a tour-de-force for Lee who rips through this classic with a deep husky Tenor Sax sound and displays remarkable improvisational skills as he occasionally wanders into free-jazz turf. Mike Lee teaches jazz improvisation at various Universities and Conservatories as his improvisational savvy is prominently displayed throughout “Above The Battleground”.

Lee’s composition, “Please Me” prominently features his fleet fingered and multi-toned Soprano Sax work and a thoughtful, moving piano solo by Matt Ray. Lee’s rich tone and articulate phrasing coupled with sporadic intonations of extended notes and clever improv further exemplify Lee’s technical gifts and sharp wit. Lee’s “Leisure Suit” is an affable piece that touches upon early Horace Silver while his “Laws Of Chaos” is a fitting finale to a compositionally diverse outing and features fine soloing by Hagans as Lee stretches out on Tenor Sax. At this juncture, the listener may find his or herself tapping out the rhythms on an inanimate object.

“Above The Battleground” is just the beginning for this talented instrumentalist. No hidden agendas or filler material on this project. Lee ‘s a bright composer and knows how to breathe new life into standards. The talented Tim Hagans and the fine rhythm section consisting of Allison, Horner and Ray compliment Lee’s deeply personal sound and sharp attack to the highest order. ****

For info email Mike Lee at: mikelee1@mindspring.com

| Record Label: CAP | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "This Could Be That" CD/LP/Track Review This Could Be That
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Don't Try You Are" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Try You Are
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "George DeLancey" CD/LP/Track Review George DeLancey
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Infinitude" CD/LP/Track Review Infinitude
by John Kelman
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Spacebound Apes" CD/LP/Track Review Spacebound Apes
by Phil Barnes
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Meeting At The Parting Place" CD/LP/Track Review Meeting At The Parting Place
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!