Thanks to all you guys for inspiring me.
Memphis, Tennessee. MIT. Carolina Piedmont. Silicon Valley. Blues in Mississippi. Taiko in Kyoto. Lee is on a quest, and it shows in his music.
The quest? To go beyond diversity and variety. Learning how we each are different is just a start; Lee is seeking how we are the same. And it shows in his music.
The goal? Bring out the very best of every music. "The most important quality of a good arranger is insight", says Allen. "You've got to size up the song as though it were a person - it actually is somebody's baby, you know."
Insight, in this case, has been gained from a varied playing history that started when Lee began playing Memphis nightclubs at the age of 14 (don’t tell!) in the late 1960's. Lee later helped introduce a gospel choir to the MIT campus, and arranged for various pop singers during the '70's and '80's. Most recently Lee has arranged for churches in Boston, Massachusetts and Silicon Valley, California.
"Music is a language of feelings and emotions. So, when I arrange or compose, I see in my mind 'the listener' saying 'I am opening a door to my feelings, don't abuse my trust'. I understand everybody likes a wild ride now and then, but I leave that music for others to make".
Lee's cover songs illustrate his approach to arranging: familiar melodies seen a new way, while preserving the feelings originally intended when the song was born.
Lee seeks the themes that unify us and inspire us, that build us up. And it shows in his music.