This week’s Member Profile features Trumpeter Benjamin Lee. He shared some of his thoughts about the program:
1) How has the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band experience been so far?
Being in the Youth Big Band was a refreshing change of pace from any musical experience that I had beforehand. The commitment, ability, and professionalism of the band as a whole completely changed my outlook on music.
2) What has been your favourite performance this year?
My favourite performance was at the Old Mill with Ron Westray. Performing two full sets with such an amazing musician in front of a live audience was really fun and inspiring.
3) What upcoming event(s) are you looking forward to the most and why?
I am looking forward to any performances taking place over the summer because it gives me a chance to play music with an actual band for an audience instead of spending all of my time in the practice room.
4) The Youth Big Band program is made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?
Thank you so much for giving us a chance to develop our love for jazz by playing and connecting with others who appreciate the art form, and for recognizing the significance that music holds in our lives. Your support has a direct impact on talented musicians in our generation, and has absolutely changed my life.
5) How has your playing changed since you joined the Youth Big Band?
In terms of big band playing, I have gained a much deeper understanding of each member’s role in the band and can therefore play much more effectively within a section. Furthermore, my ability to improvise has increased dramatically after listening more and working with other amazing musicians in the band.
6) What music are you listening to at the moment that you find particularly inspiring?
On top of the small band jazz (i.e. trios, quartets) that I listen to regularly, I have gained a newfound recognition for big band music. In particular, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass show incredible musicianship with their technical abilities and their musical creativity, which I find truly inspiring.
7) Do you have any plans for the summer?
Other than a trip to Korea, I plan to spend a sizeable amount of time either listening to music or shedding in the practice room.
8) Do you plan to audition for the group next year?
I would love to continue being a part of this amazing opportunity, so it’s a yes for me!
9) Is there anything you’d like to add?
I want to thank Jules and the band for the incredible experience they have created in the Youth Big Band.
Favourite musical artist: Lee Morgan.
Last live concert / show you attended: JazzLives 2018 at Koerner Hall.
Favourite TV show or movie: Friends.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Ireland.