Home New York Report Jazz Pianist Ellie Lee launches her first full-length album titled, “Escape”

Jazz Pianist Ellie Lee launches her first full-length album titled, “Escape”

Pianist Ellie Lee grew up in Seoul, South Korea, and earned a Bachelor of Music in Classical Piano Performance from Sookmyung Women’s University. She moved from classical to jazz because “I’ve always wanted to play music freely without being constrained by rules. Eventually, I found jazz music, which has a certain frame but also can be changed freely.” The transition to jazz was helped by a scholarship to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where she received a Professional Diploma, studying with such pianists as NEA Jazz Master, Joanne Brackeen, Alain Mallet, Tim Ray, and George W. Russell, Jr. Then, she earned a Master of Music in Jazz Performance degree from William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ, studying with Director of Jazz Studies Bill Charlap and pianist Geoffrey Keezer.
Lee’s new album, Escape, features seven original compositions and one arrangement that blends her jazz and classical backgrounds. In an interview with the West Essex Tribune Newspaper in Livingston, NJ, Lee said that, despite being frustrated by classical music’s rigidity, she has begun to feel “the coexistence between classical music and jazz music.” On Escape, Lee is joined by saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Steve LaSpina (a WPUNJ faculty member), and drummer Jongkuk Kim.
A Grammy awards winner, Geoffrey Keezer remembers, “Even as a student at William Paterson, Ellie was writing highly developed, entirely fresh and contemporary jazz compositions. She’s a pianist who understands the various idioms she works in, the importance of groove, attention to the subtle details of orchestration and arranging and giving the players she hires space to contribute. And she can back it up with excellent piano playing.
Ellie and her A-list band navigate the curveballs, twists, and turns, and surprises of these compositions with ease and grace, creating a beautiful and seamless flow.” —SANFORD JOSEPHSON (Jersey Jazz Magazine Editor) 
A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Editor-in-Chief Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject. His writing appears on Latin Jazz Network; Chamber Music America magazine and numerous other publications.


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