Under Review

Jamie Lee Trio


(self-released); 29/02/2020

Jordan Naterer

Jamie Lee Trio’s Introspective uses diverse soundscapes and eclectic influences to show how pumped and punchy a jazz trio can be. All recent graduates of Capilano University’s jazz program, drummer Jamie Lee teamed up with bassist Marcus Abramzik and pianist James Dekker for their debut release, Introspective. Rather than the exacting style of classic jazz trios like Bill Evans Trio or the groovy hip-hop influences of BADBADNOTGOOD’s early work, Jamie Lee uses odd time signatures and a unique range of instrument expression to create a sound space where at one moment you have lost yourself, and the next you find yourself dancing.

The LP bursts open with the restless track “Overclock,” immediately hitting you with its odd 7/8 time signature transitions, precise drum rhythms, and savvy bass and piano hooks. The fast pace and jittery electric piano solos nicely tie in with the title of the track. “Butterfly Effect” is a track that I quite easily got lost in, due to its hard-to-follow rhythm and compositional spontaneity. In the video of their live performance of this track, recorded by the West Coast Art Collective, the energy of the room is just amazing. The impulsiveness and impromptu nature of the main melody illustrates how small ideas can have surprising and unexpected effects. The last song I have to praise is the closing track “Beginning,” which brings in a choral ensemble to perform a cathartic ballad over Jamie’s marching beat, Marcus’ blissful bowing, and James’ impactful piano performance.

Unfortunately science has not yet reached the stage where we can effectively peer into people’s minds and understand their truest motivations and intentions. Luckily, the aptly titled Introspective, gives us the opportunity to gaze into the mind of three of Vancouver’s up-and-coming jazz performers, while also offering some tracks that are quite catchy and impressively show off the artists’ performance chops