02_Chris_LeeBailar Conmigo

Christopher Lee; James Brown

Manor House Records MHR220811

Several years ago, while attending a concert at a local high school, I was quite impressed by the talent of a young student named Christopher Lee. Today, some 25 years later, I am amazed at how this young musician has developed. In this CD Chris Lee has collaborated with Toronto guitarist James Brown, a faculty member of the Royal Conservatory. This all-Latin CD spans a wide spectrum of works from such standards as Abreu’s Tico Tico and Albeniz’s Granada and Seville to works of such contemporaries as Chick Corea, Christopher Caliendo and collaborator James Brown. Five of the 15 selections are by Caliendo, including the world premiere recording of his Mistero.

The guitar’s role is primarily accompanying the flute, where it is always tasteful. Brown’s solo opportunities on such tracks as Corea’s La Fiesta and his own Toronto Folk Song show his talents well. However, this CD is really a showcase for Chris Lee. His dazzling technique on Tico Tico and Caliendo’s Caliente come across as all the more amazing when contrasted with the subtle tones of such works as Ponce’s Estrellita.

For me, the highlight is El Choclo, one of the most recognizable of all tangos. This begins with a slow section where the performer introduces us to an amazing spectrum of tonal colours. Here the haunting sounds reminded me of a native flute circle.

The CD ends with dazzling virtuosity of Caliente. A must have recording.

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