All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Take Five With...

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

159

Take Five With Scott Lee

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Meet Scott Lee:

Scott Lee switched from a career in tennis at UNC-CH to jazz, after hearing the Bill Evans Trio. Arriving in NY in the '70s, he worked with Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, Al Cohn, Red Rodney, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Lovano, Kenny Werner, Andy Statman, Chris Conner, Morgana King, Helen Merrill, Betty Buckley, and Anita O'Day.

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, 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 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, and Jeff Hirshfield 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 and Andrew Rathbun). And George Colligan 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, Drumlore (BJU Records);

Rez Abbasi, Snake Charmer (Earth Sounds);

Joe Lovano, Folk Art (Blue Note);

Kenny Werner, Democracy.

Desert Island picks:

Wayne Shorter, Native Dancer;

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue;

Take Six, Take Six;

Any and all Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder;

John Coltrane, 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

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Leaving

Leaving

SteepleChase Records
2010

buy
 

With Ease / Jazzblues

Cathexis Records
1999

buy

Related Articles

Read Take Five with Mark Haskins Take Five With...
Take Five with Mark Haskins
by Mark Haskins
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Take Five with Tarek Yamani Take Five With...
Take Five with Tarek Yamani
by Tarek Yamani
Published: April 12, 2018
Read Take Five With the Anansi Trio Take Five With...
Take Five With the Anansi Trio
by Mark Merella
Published: March 7, 2018
Read Take Five with Myriam Phiro Take Five With...
Take Five with Myriam Phiro
by Myriam Phiro
Published: March 2, 2018
Read Take Five with Tat Yoshinaga Take Five With...
Take Five with Tat Yoshinaga
by Tat Yoshinaga
Published: February 28, 2018
Read Take Five with Chris Abelen Take Five With...
Take Five with Chris Abelen
by Chris Abelen
Published: February 13, 2018
Read "Take Five with Myriam Phiro" Take Five With... Take Five with Myriam Phiro
by Myriam Phiro
Published: March 2, 2018
Read "Take Five with Debora Galan" Take Five With... Take Five with Debora Galan
by Debora Galan
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Take Five with Ralph Hepola" Take Five With... Take Five with Ralph Hepola
by Ralph Hepola
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Take Five with Tat Yoshinaga" Take Five With... Take Five with Tat Yoshinaga
by Tat Yoshinaga
Published: February 28, 2018
Read "Take Five with Ryan Slatko" Take Five With... Take Five with Ryan Slatko
by Ryan Slatko
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Take Five with Luc Herrmann" Take Five With... Take Five with Luc Herrmann
by Luc Herrmann
Published: January 26, 2018