Jihye Lee is a jazz composer and bandleader based in New York, highly regarded for her personal and adventurous storytelling approach to large-ensemble jazz. “Her music is imaginative and creative” says Jim McNeely, one of Lee’s great mentors. “And she’s not afraid to take some exciting chances in her writing.”
Lee describes composition as a form of record-keeping for herself, as the documentation of her life, the process of finding musical equivalents to the images, thoughts and emotions in her mind. She writes first and foremost for herself, to release her feelings, which makes her music deeply personal. Her goal is to invite listeners into her creative world, to relate to her stories, to reflect on the truth that as humans, we share similar struggles and triumphs regardless of where we come from. It is Lee’s hope that we can create genuine connections with each other through art.
She has organized successful crowdfunding campaigns for April, her 2017 debut album, as well as Daring Mind, her sophomore effort, releasing in March 26, 2021 on Motéma Music. April was was co-produced by Greg Hopkins and recorded with Berklee faculty members and top jazz professionals from the Boston area; the album revealed Lee’s extraordinary gifts at the helm of a top-tier large ensemble, making original music with what The Village Voice called “chamber-like textures, involved harmony and sectional counterpoint, and persistent rhythmic drive.”