Lee unravels a series of melodies that are insinuating or soulful or both.
Portland-based composer, jazz pianist, arranger, conductor and music educator Gordon Lee has been one of the pre-eminent voices in NW jazz for decades performing with top names, touring the world and recording his own small group CDs featuring Jim Pepper, Leroy Vinnegar and Mel Brown. In this, the first recording of his big band, Lee features some of Portland's finest improvisational voices performing his alternately swinging, pensive, dynamic and lush arrangements of his own compositions and an arrangement on "Where or When." Reminiscent of some of the fine modern big band recordings of the past 15 years by Brookmeyer, Schnieder and others, Lee takes his hard-earned experiences and creates a project with personality, swing and beauty.
1. Vicious Cycle (7:36)
2. Flying Dream (8:46)
3. Sentimental Fool (5:49)
4. Now What? (11:16)
5. Tobacco Monkey (4:22)
6. Winter Comes (5:17)
7. Bitter Wind (7:48)
8. Wait for Her (7:15)
9. Where or When (5:15)
10. Alternative Blues (5:11)
Gordon Lee and the GLeeful Big Band
GORDON LEE - composer, conductor & piano
CARLTON JACKSON - drums
ANDRE ST. JAMES - contrabass (tracks 1,3,4,9,10)
CHARLEY GRAY - electric bass (tracks 2,5,6,7,8)
RICH COOPER - lead trumpet
RANDY MUELLER - 2nd lead trumpet
DAVE MILLS - 3rd trumpet
FARNELL NEWTON - 4th trumpet, fluegelhorn (track 8)
STAN BOCK - lead trombone
KELLER COKER - 2nd trombone
LARS CAMPBELL - 3rd trombone
MICHAEL POWERS - bass trombone
GARY HARRIS - alto sax, flute (track 7)
TOM BERGERON - alto sax, flute (tracks 7,8)
RENATO CARANTO - tenor sax, soprano sax (track 7)
TIM JENSEN - tenor sax, clarinet (track 7), flute (track 8)
ROBERT CROWELL - baritone sax
Recorded by BOB STARK Dec. 15 & 16, 2003 at Kung Fu Bakery Studios, Portland, Oregon
Mastered at Freq Mastering, Portland, Oregon by RYAN FOSTER
Cover photo by MATT JORGENSEN
Photos by CAMILLE ROSE-HALL
Layout & design by JOHN BISHOP/OriginArts
All About Jazz (Dan McClenaghan)
With big bands, it's all about the arrangements. Those charts have to have that spark, as well as a depth and complexity. Then the solo slots -- those punctuating flights of improvisation -- have to soar, of course. They do here; they almost always do at this top level of musicianship; but it's the textures, the layerings, the eyebrow-raising count ...
All Music Guide (Adam Greenburg)
After decades of small group work, Gordon Lee has taken the last eight years or so to start work on big band arrangements, culminating in this album with the GLeeful Big Band, a collection of Portland jazz scene regulars (you might note Origin artists Stan Bock and Tim Jensen included along the way on lead trombone and piano, respectively). The mot ...
Oregonian (Lynn Darroch)
Big ideas, Big band "Sure there's dissonance," says pianist and composer Gordon Lee about "Flying Dream," his new CD on OA2 recordings. "That's a characteristic of my style. But it's a friendly dissonance," he adds. Lee's previous album, "Rough Jazz," explored the Portland resident's dark side, but he says this big band recording exhibits th ...
Jazz Scene (George Fendel)
Pianist/ composer/ arranger Gordon Lee has accomplished something many jazz fans would love to hear accomplished more often - a really good big band album. Compiling a big band, even if only for recording purposes, is a monumental task these days, and giving them charts that challenge and explore is even more of a coup. Lee has assembled a crack gr ...
All About Jazz (Jack Bowers)
We're not told much about Gordon Lee except that he's a Portland, Oregon-based music educator who has performed and recorded with a number of small groups and has been writing big-band charts for eight years. His influences, he writes in the brief liner notes, range from Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Maria Schne ...
Jazz Scene (Jazz Society of Oregon)
I've always considered myself more a small group bebop - piano trio type of guy and not so much into big bands. Then why in the heck do I have such an enduring admiration for Duke and Basie and such respect and wide eyed amazement with Bill Holman, Bob Florence and Thad Jones-Mel Lewis? Go figure, but along comes Portland piano veteran, the vastly ...
Audiophile Audition (John Henry)
Portland jazz pianist and composer Gordon Lee only started writing for big band in 1995 but the ten tracks on this disc demonstrate that he's a master at it. An expanding interest in counterpoint was the stimulus for his efforts. Classical influences are in fact strong in the compositions, including Stravinsky and Mahler. Among Lee's jazz heros are ...
Willamette Week (Tim Duroche)
Big bands (and good ones at that) are rare these days. This release, Lee's first foray into large band work, is a delectable entry equally indebted to the modern big bands of Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Bob Brookmeyer or Maria Schneider and modern classical music (that's where Lee's "friendly dissonance" gets its genes). Like Schneider, Lee dabbles in a ...
Improvijazzation Nation (Rotcod Zzaj)
This is our first experience with Gordon's wonderful big-band sound, but it won't be the last, I'm sure. Lee's keyboards are highlighted, naturally, but the rest of the 16-piece group is able to show off their talent in a very balanced way! The kinda' jazz you used to hear... the recording is excellent, & captures the pure & joyful energy of Gord ...
Cadence Magazine (Bill Donaldson)
The fact that Mel Brown's septet has gone unrecorded, but for an album in the eighties, raises the question of how many other not only worthy, but individually remarkable, groups remain undiscovered. Their members may be satisfied with performing as the occasions arise at local venues before going back to make a living at their day jobs. In ...