Lee, at far left, spent 10 years playing with Dizzy Gillespie, leads several Gillespie tribute bands, and produces the annual Giants of Jazz concert series at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (canceled in 2020 because of Covid). On Saturday, May 22, from 7-8 p.m., EDT, he will be leading a trio at the New Jersey Jazz Society’s monthly Virtual Social. Joining him will be drummer Karl Latham, center, and pianist Alex Collins.
Latham was described by jazzmonthly.com as “one of the most in-demand drummers in music today.” In addition to appearing with the John Lee Trio and Lee’s Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars, Latham has performed with a long list of jazz artists including tenor saxophonist/flutist Don Braden and the late trumpeters Claudio Roditi and Clark Terry. According to AllAboutJazz, “Karl is an inventive powerhouse whose influences are many but whose ideas are his own . . . Karl is known for his exceptional ability to dig into a variety of musical styles, playing funk, rock, Latin, modern jazz, straight-ahead jazz, and avant-garde.”
Collins, who has music degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, has played at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival and was the recipient of the Wynton Kelly Jazz Foundation Award for Jazz Achievement. For many years, he led the monthly Jazz Jams at Teaneck’s Puffin Cultural Forum.
The Virtual Social will be streamed on the New Jersey Jazz Society website, www.njjs.org, as well as on the NJJS Facebook page and YouTube channel. There is no admission charge, but donations are welcome and encouraged.
Funding for the NJJS Socials has been made possible in part by Morris Arts through the N.J. State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding has been provided through a generous grant from Nan Hughes Poole.