Ben Lee, the hotly-tipped young guitarist and composer, is to release his debut album In The Tree on Birmingham’s Stoney Lane Records this autumn, featuring ten original tracks inspired by a host of eclectic musicians, from fellow guitarists Wes Montgomery and John Schofield to Nirvana and Radiohead.
His beguiling quintet explore the many sounds and combinations of its unorthodox line-up, featuring guitar, alto sax, trombone, organ and drums, creating an album full of punchy horn lines, groove, invention and no lack of warmth and technical prowess.
Originally from Devon, Ben studied jazz guitar at Birmingham Conservatoire, but his great number of varied influences spread above and beyond the musical and academic world, and are at the core of his writing and personality running through the album. The jaunty 'Kickin' The Chicken' takes inspiration from his time in Malawi, drawing on the music of heroes Montgomery and Sonny Rollins, whilst the opening 'Folk Theme' was written with strong reflections on dystopian novels, and the conflict and coexistence between two nation states. 'First Contact' is Ben’s tribute to his love of sci-fi - the tale of man’s first communication with extra terrestrial life, whereas the guitar-led ballad 'Hygge' (featuring the trio of Lee, David Ferris’ organ and drummer Euan Palmer) was composed following Ben’s 2014 adventure in Denmark, taking its title from the Danish word describing the feeling of cosyness shared with other people.
The title track 'In The Tree' describes the simple pleasure of nature and climbing a tree, ever higher, until the branches run out!
The BLQ tour the UK this autumn, following summer performances at the Cheltenham and Manchester Jazz Festivals. They play the latest in a series of Stoney Lane double-bills at London’s Kings Place on September 16th, alongside the Jonathan Silk Big Band.
With beautifully drawn original artwork from Ning-Ning Li, In The Tree is released on CD digipak and digitally on 21st October 2016.
‘... all that skill, plus a hugely eclectic range of influences and a great dollop of wit and good humour, and which on top of all that sounds thoroughly original... it's a real treat.’ - The Jazz Breakfast
released October 21, 2016
Ben Lee - Guitar & Composition
Chris Young - Alto Saxophone
Richard Foote - Trombone
David Ferris - Organ
Euan Palmer - Drums
ⓒⓅ Ben Lee 2016 - All rights reserved
Stoney Lane Records - SLR1892
Released 21st October, 2016