June 17, 2024


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CD review: Søren Lee Diversity Trio – Some Funkyness 2022: Video, CD cover

This two-CD set takes-up where 2018’s Søren Lee Diversity Trio left off: consummate, articulate music making framing Lee’s classy improvisations. He is a master of creating a moods, and works within emotional climate he creates on each song, twelve originals in all.

Harmonically rich, some of the voicings that flash by sound intriguing: is Lee using alternate tunings, not simple Drop D or Double Drop D, but something much more sophisticated? With just bass and drums accompaniment, there is nowhere to hide, yet Lee flourishes in this challenging environment, occasionally turning the spotlight onto the outstanding Linley Marthe, with whom he shares an almost telepathic understanding. Niclas Campagnol is a model of discretion, whose role subtly shifts between that of a timekeeper and colourist. It’s tempting to say this is a trio of equals, which these rounded, well conceived performances suggest, but that is not strictly true. A trio of equals, maybe, but Lee is a little bit more equal than the rest.

I do not recall having heard a guitar trio with as much intensity as the guitarist Søren Lee and his new Diversity Trio. From beginning of the first song to the end of the concert the music was played with an infectious intensity and a far-reaching imagination. There! Now that’s said.

I was familiar with Lee’s and Campagnol’s technical proficiencies, although quite new to the bassist Linley Marthe, but to experience the quivering energy that occurs when three musicians with their own perception of the soul in. To find musicians that challenge each other at such a high level is an extremely satisfying rare occurrence.

The themes seem straightforward simple, whilst containing multiple layers of improvisation deeply weaved into the narrative. All three musicians went deeply into the character of each theme, and blew them up as if they were multicoloured figurine-like balloons. It was a sumptuous experience.

Does it sound like I was on acid trip? Yes, maybe, but when the music contains so much energy, and desire with each player moving around one another so elegantly, brought me to feel that my only glass of red wine probably was supplemented with something else than that of 12 percent alcohol. The bartender purely denied that this was the case, so it clearly had to be the power of the music alone that gave me such a feeling. Thanks for it!

The recording is called Søren Lee diversity trio live in Copenhagen. Recorded live at Jazzhus Montmartre. Some funkyness is a single from the full album and is one of the songs on the double live album recorded at Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen to days in March the 6th and 7th year 2020 just a couple of weeks before the world epidemi covid turned the hole wide world upside down. With bassplayer Linley Marthe and drummer Niclas Campagnol both amazing players. Its an album full of energi, drive, passion and commitment. Just a great live album if you ask me. My process with my sound has evolved some during that time and also after. The musicians is also on my former trio album of the same name Søren Lee diversity trio that is a studio recording,- an interview with me said Søren Lee.

Søren Lee (Born January 20, 1966 in Copenhagen) is a Danish Jazz guitarist and composer. He started playing guitar at age of 10, took guitar lessons for about two years with a private teacher and began his professional career at 15. He performed with his own band in smaller places around Copenhagen. At 16 he started playing with the funk band “Tonight” that Achieved big success around Denmark played around 4 gigs a week in two years. At 19 he started playing with the Jazz group Orbits with Uffe Markussen sax, Alex Riel (Drums) Ben Besiakow (piano) Marilyn Mazur (perc.) among others, and got his first review as a jazz guitarist with this band in the newspaper Politiken after playing in Jazz club Montmartre headline was “Great talent, Danish guitar hope”. (By Boris Rabinowich).

In summer 1988-90 Søren packed his bags and went for the big Apple New York to try it out and also to study music at New School for jazz and social research.

In 1990 he records his first solo Album with the legendary bass player Ray Brown, “Søren Lee Quartet “ Ray Brown bass, Alvin Queen Drums, Niels Lan Doky/Thomas Clausen Piano. The band toured and played sold out concert nationwide, and attracted serious media attention, incl. front pages and national television documentary and full broadcast concerts.

Søren Lee performed in 1991 with Jim Hall quartet at Village Vanguard New York, and was also feat. with Jim hall quartet at Montmartre the same year. In 1992 he recorded his second solo Album Søren Lee Trio with Adam Nussbaum on Drums and Jesper Lundgaard on bass. This trio album received many great reviews: “Briliant guitar talent Søren Lee is a formidable guitarist nothing less. (Jyllands Posten)”. This trio toured all over Scandinavia.

1993-2000 Søren took also some other educations not related to music. Back in N.Y. in 1997 to study classical composing for a year at City College, playing two/three gigs a week in New York. In 1999- he starts playing as a sideman on tours and albums with many different artists in Denmark to name a few Cæsilie Nordby (two month tour in Scandinavia), drummer Jonas Johansens “Please Move” that was nominated for an Danish Grammy, saxophonist Emil Hess in different constellations, pianist Jørgen Emborg, this year he also starts teaching guitar at MGK and different Conservatoriums in Denmark.

2001 he records his third solo Album “Living now” with Jesper Nordenstrøm (organ), Mads Vinding (bass), Martin Andersen (drums) Lelo Nica (played accordion with the great Joe Zawinul), This album was also followed by many great reviews , “ Søren Lee, Master guitar player superior with a superior personal touch. (Fyns stiftstidende)..”

In 2005 he gets curious about singing and the human voice and he goes to Los Angeles “Hollywood” 2007-2009 to study vocal technic with the legendary vocal coach Seth Riggs known from being coaching Michael Jackson, Stevie wonder among many others, 2007-2016 Søren writes more than 100 songs with lyrics. From 2009-2017 he opens a vocal studio in Copenhagen getting a lot of success as a vocal teacher by teaching pop stars from the radio (Jannik) from Nic and Jay – Vinnie Who among many others, in this period he is also playing around with his own bands and as a sideman for other artists.

In 2016 he starts his collaboration with the Swedish/Italian drummer Niclas Campagnol and it inspired him to a new recording and his fourth album “Søren Lee Diversity Trio” together with the Mauritian bass player Linley Marthe (known from from playing with Zawinul Syndicate the last 5 years of Joe Zawinul´s life and from playing today with drummer Omar Harkim´s band) and it´s Niclas Campagnol on Drums. The album “Søren Lee Diversity Trio” was released sept. 7th 2018 with a concert in Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen.

1 Some Funkyness (Live) 05:51
2 Heart Song (Live) 07:09
3 Diversity (Live) 11:04
4 New Possibilities (Live) 08:56
5 Ma Chérie Eva (Live) 06:12

Søren Lee: Guitar
Mathias Petri: Bass
Niclas Campagnol: Drums

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