Take Five With Terje Lie

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Terje Lie:

Saxophonist Terje Lie, ("Terry Lee"), started his career as a musician during high school in Norway with his blues/rock band with which he appeared as a lead vocalist on Norwegian television at seventeen years of age.

Over time, he became a part of that country's scene of young rising jazz artists and freelance musicians, featured as both a singer and saxophonist. Lie toured Norway, Sweden, and Finland with different groups and appeared on the jazz shows of NRK, the Norwegian equivalent of the BBC. Lie was also a recipient of a grant from the Norwegian State Fund for Performing Artists.

Lie later decided to move to the U.S. since his favorite styles of music "were being created in this country 24/7 everywhere." Loving the Southern California climate and being "a certified beach bum," he chose L.A. as his new base. Since then he has been a jazz artist and freelance musician, performing in clubs and at festivals and concerts throughout the West Coast.

Lie has a degree in music education as well as a Master of Music degree. He is active in music education and as a clinician and when time allows, he also donates time to children's music programs.

Commenting on his new album, Urban Vacation (produced by Jimmy Haslip and Jeff Lorber), Terje says, "Seeing how much work Jimmy [Haslip] and Jeff [Lorber] put into Urban Vacation has definitely inspired me to expect even more from myself as a composer, musician, and performer. It's great to have the opportunity now to share that with more fans than ever before." And he continues, "Jeff and Jimmy enlightened me to many new angles and concepts that made this a fantastic experience for me. It's been a great thing to record with them and the result is a seriously kickin' album!"



Teachers and/or influences?

Jan Garbarek and Eric Marienthal.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I heard the blues.

Your sound and approach to music:

My sound is based in the Coltrane tradition/New York saxophone sound.

My approach is to express my feelings and states of mind as honestly and expressively as possible through my playing and writing. The ultimate goal for me is to attain that "spiritual" state in music performance where you reach 'OM" and share that state with the listeners.

Your teaching approach:

Assess the talents and level of the students accurately. Then guide the learning process with attention to what the student would like to achieve mixed with giving as much of my knowledge as I can.

Your dream band:

There are just so many fantastic cats! I like to have opportunities to work with a variety of great players.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

Many tales, but maybe not for tender ears! I'll think about it!

Favorite venue:

Most recently: Brea Jazz Festival in California

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

How do you pick? Impossible, but some of my favorites are Coltrane's Crescent and Miles' Kind of Blue of course. Of contemporary cats, Jeff Lorber's stuff is among my favorite (he is also the co-producer on my new album Urban Vacation. One of my favorite Lorber albums is Flipside. John Scofield's Loud Jazz is high up there. Pat Metheny. Anything by Michael Brecker, of course! Wayne Shorter—one of my all-time favorite players and one of our greatest jazz composers.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

A Love Supreme, John Coltrane.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Hopefully I take the listeners on a trip to where time disappears and we're all inside the music in a higher dimension!

CDs you are listening to now:

Heard That by Jeff Lorber and Mike Stern's Who Let The Cats Out.

Desert Island picks:

Crescent by John Coltrane;

Kind of Blue by Miles Davis;

Flipside by Jeff Lorber.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

Basic jazz (well, we've got a myriad of styles and directions here) seems to be doing well in NYC and certain urban centers here and I think it's spread more internationally. Jazz—our genuine American art form—has become an established and respected art form around the world.

Contemporary jazz seems to be doing better than ever.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Education, education, education. Young people have to be exposed to America's art music in the school system to ensure that it happens. Cities around the country need to do more to support jazz officially. I mean, so many cities have symphony orchestras as a standard item for at least a medium to large city. Where is the standard jazz orchestra?

What is in the near future?

My new album Urban Vacation is coming out and it's already being picked up by a whole lot of stations! Jimmy Haslip and Jeff Lorber produced it and joined playing on all the tracks also! We all contributed to the writing process. It was a really great experience! So, the new album is my primary focus right now. Booking is another thing. Hoping the album gives us a boost in the booking process!

By Day:

Music, music, music, including playing, writing, and also the affairs of my productions company.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Ship's captain. Seriously!

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Tere Lie.

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