There are few Australian originals in jazz, though vibraphonist Alan Lee surely ranks alongside the best. Australian jazz is and always will be an interpretation of the American art form, but throughout his long career Lee has ploughed his furrow undaunted, 'What I want is the fire! Whether it's John Coltrane's Blues Minor from Africa Brass or Backwater Blues by Leadbelly, I want the emotion, the gut wrenching pain, the cry from within!'
These are uninhibited words. A musician and bandleader who cut a number of jazz sides for small independent Melbourne labels from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s, Lee has always searched for this fire, evident in the broad styles he's covered throughout his career, and which we have attempted to explore here, the first and only collection of music from Alan Lee. From '60s soul jazz, to the deep modal sounds of the early '70s and cross-genre experiments exhibited in his chamber jazz, Lee's personal life has been as varied and explorative as his music, a journey that has taken him beyond the thresholds of jazz improvisation and spiritual awareness.