Gordon Lee, piano – This Path – OA2 Records 22076 ****:
(Gordon Lee, piano; Dave Captein or Kevin Deitz, doublebass; Carlton Jackson or Ron Steen, drums; Miguel Bernal, cajon [tr. 4])
Lee is a respected Portland, OR pianist, composer, arranger and music educator. He’s performed around the world and with some of the top names in jazz. His diverse expertise covers avant-garde, symphonic, fusion and big band. The many different influences result in an extremely diverse collection of a dozen tracks which he has composed or arranged. The “Lakota Song” and “Sitting Bull’s Revenge” reminded me of a memorable evening Lee arranged and put together as a tribute to the late Native American jazzman Jim Pepper – composer of “Witchee-Tai-To.” “Sitting Bull” is a sort of reimagining of the classic “Cherokee.”
His use of two different bassists and drummers on the various tracks also adds to the diversity of the sounds. A strong blues flavor permeates “Niney-Nine Niney-Nine.” On some of the tracks Lee employs big chords and quite complex melodic structures, but he always swings. The first two tunes have an Asian influence. I especially enjoyed his composition “Portrait in Black & White” – one of the longest tracks on the CD, at over seven minutes. Overall a fine collection of varied music which should have considerable appeal to many listeners.
Pao Ma Shan, Dragonfly, Minor Discrepancy, Andalucia, Portrait in Black & White, This Path, Lakota Song, Sitting Bull’s Revenge, Niney-Nine Niney-Nine, Cornbread, Cadenza, Field on the Hill
— John Henry