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From Within by Brandon Lee

From Within is a remarkable debut album by trumpeter/flugelhornist Brandon Lee, the newest and youngest member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Lee recently obtained his Masters degree as a member of the first graduating class of Juillard's Jazz Studies program, launched in 2001 with 18 students. He has performed with many of the greats and has also led bands playing his original charts and compositions.

On this 2006 studio session, he leads a dynamic small group. Four of the seven tunes are his. Lee's pure bebop opener, " Attack of the Vibe," serves as an introduction to the players as Lee, Michael Dease on trombone, Tommy Gardner on tenor, and pianist Mayuko Katakura demonstrate high-speed creativity. The band then shifts from pyrotechnics to peace as Dease's contribution, the catchy bossa nova, "Believe," provides opportunities for his warm trombone sound and piano impressionism by Katakura. "Still" is an intriguing and edgy Lee chart that features Jon Irabagon on alto while Lee's lovely "Rise and Fall" and his intimate approach to the flugelhorn make a perfect match. The highlight is the uptempo " Blee's Blues" as the musicians - with that strong rhythm section and powerful solos - free up the blues format for the 21st century.

A favorite composer, Joe Henderson, is saluted by the group's innovative take on his classic, "Black Narcissus," while the easy-going swing closer, "Bye Bye Blackbird" -just Lee and rhythm - would make Miles smile.

Only in his mid-twenties, Brandon Lee is a well-grounded, outstanding and versatile performer with a gift for composition and arranging. Based on From Within his future appears bright indeed.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Brandon Lee
  • CD Title: From Within
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Wren/Tang Studios
  • Tracks: Attack of the Vibe, Believe, Still, Rise and Fall, Black Narcissus, Blees Blues
  • Musicians: Brandon Lee (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jon Irabagon (alto sax), Tommy Gardner (tenor sax), Michael Dease (trombone), Mayuko Katakura (piano), Philip Kuehn (bass), Marion Felder, Marcus Gilmore (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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