Jihye Lee

Jihye Lee is a jazz composer and bandleader based in New York, highly regarded for her personal and adventurous storytelling approach to large-ensemble jazz. “Her music is imaginative and creative” says Jim McNeely, one of Lee’s great mentors. “And she’s not afraid to take some exciting chances in her writing.”

Lee describes composition as a form of record-keeping for herself, as the documentation of her life, the process of finding musical equivalents to the images, thoughts and emotions in her mind. She writes first and foremost for herself, to release her feelings, which makes her music deeply personal. Her goal is to invite listeners into her creative world, to relate to her stories, to reflect on the truth that as humans, we share similar struggles and triumphs regardless of where we come from. It is Lee’s hope that we can create genuine connections with each other through art.

She has organized successful crowdfunding campaigns for April, her 2017 debut album, as well as Daring Mind, her sophomore effort, releasing in March 26, 2021 on Motéma Music. April was was co-produced by Greg Hopkins and recorded with Berklee faculty members and top jazz professionals from the Boston area; the album revealed Lee’s extraordinary gifts at the helm of a top-tier large ensemble, making original music with what The Village Voice called “chamber-like textures, involved harmony and sectional counterpoint, and persistent rhythmic drive.”

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“”With its chamber-like woodwind textures, involved harmony and sectional counterpoint, and persistent rhythmic drive, Lee's music fits comfortably within a resurgent large-ensemble format whose exponents include Maria Schneider, John Hollenbeck, Darcy James Argue, and Andrew Rathbun. But Lee also imbues her compositions withhan, an ineffable sadness that serves as a dramatic element in much Korean art - compare the Brazilian saudade or American blues.” ” — David Adler, Village Voice

“”Lee certainly embraced that richness on her remarkable debut, which is redolent of the coloristic bravura of the Maria Schneider Orchestra and the narrative complexity of Jim McNeely's arrangement.”” — Shaun Brady, Jazziz

“Four stars: “...a musical triumph born of an unspeakable tragedy, thought-provoking and gut-wrenching all at once

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Darcy James Argue
composer/conductor

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Albums

Daring Mind

Motéma Music
2021

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April

Self Produced
2017

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Revived Mind

From: Daring Mind
By Jihye Lee

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