Mike Lee: Saxophones
Ted Chubb: Trumpet
Kellen Harrison: Bass
Shawn Baltazor: Drums
Four members of the celebrated Cecil’s Big Band at Cecil’s Jazz Club and Restaurant in West Orange, New Jersey tenor saxophonist Mike Lee, trumpeter Ted Chubb, bassist Kellen Harrison, and drummer Shawn Baltazordecided five years ago to get together for jam sessions in the basement of Lee’s house in nearby Montclair. Lee and Chubb brought some original compositions to jam on at the Wednesday afternoon sessions, and the men soon discovered they had a special musical affinity for one another.
“We didn’t get together with the idea of being a band,” Lee explains. “We just realized after a few weeks that we were a band.”
They decided to call the quartet New Tricks. All four musicians are firmly rooted in post-bop jazz traditions, yet they bring new twists to acoustic straight-ahead jazz conventions with their use of challenging rhythmic and harmonic devices. The name also refers to Lee, at age 47, being the “old dog” of the bunch. Chubb is 30 and, like co- leader Lee, hails from the Cleveland, Ohio area. Both Harrison and Baltazor are originally from Northern Californiathe bassist was raised in Concord, the drummer in San Rafael and are in their mid-20s.
Following the release of New Tricks’ self-titled debut CD in the summer of 2009, the quartet toured for a weekinOhio. In the spring of 2010, the group toured for three weeks in the Midwest and two in California. During these tours, New Tricks focused on nine new tunessix by Lee, three by Chubb that were recorded immediately upon returning home and comprise Alternate Side, New Tricks’ brilliant sophomore CD.