b"From Dizzy Gillespieto Aretha Franklin,John Lee is aSouth Orange Jazz All-StarThe bass player and Grammy-winning producer knows how to play it localBY DONNY LEVITLeft to right: John Lee with Dizzy Gillespie;John Lee playing for Aretha Franklin; John Lee play-ing with Paquito D'Rivera.L ets take a moment to revisit Thursday,was going to be my last plane flight for a while,ing to be spoiled by a music set of Dizzy Gillespies February 27, 2020. John Lee is on- says Lee. For a musician who has visited 96 countriesgroundbreaking fusion of Cuban, African, Argentin-stage at the Cemal Resit Rey Concertduring his life, thats no small statement. ian, Brazilian, and Caribbean rhythms performed by Hall in Istanbul, Turkey, playing elec- Fourteen months later, Lee was able to take histhe critically-acclaimed jazz ensemble. And this will tric bass during a set with the Dizzyfirst plane flight since that live set in Istanbul. Thisbe the first time theyll play together since that night Gillespie Afro-Latin Experience. Thetime, he was joined by his wife, Patrice Lee, as thein Istanbul before the pandemic silenced live music sextet is chock full of direct descen- vaccinated couple jetted down to Florida to visit hisacross the globe.dants of the beloved trumpet master known for hisdaughters, whom they had not seen since the pan- Born John Birks Gillespie in 1917, the nickname puffed-out cheeks, curiously bent horn, mischievousdemic began. And theres more good news: not onlyDizzy fit the trumpeters vibrant personality, in-sense of humor, and his brilliant contribution as awill the band be returning to the live stage; they arenovative approach to his instrument, and his well-progenitor of the bebop jazz movement. readying to do so in John Lees adopted town ofknown scat singing. By the 1940s, Gillespie was a As it wraps up its performance that night withSouth Orange. towering figure of the bebop jazz movement, and Gillespies classic Night in Tunisia, the band is un- On Saturday, June 19, the Dizzy Gillespie Afro- collaborated and led bands with the likes of Charlie aware that this will be the members' last time on- Latin Experience will be performing at the SouthParker, John Coltrane, and Billy Eckstine. Hed later stage together for 16 months. I didnt know thatOrange Performing Arts Center. Audiences are go- expand his playing and composition to other genres, 10/ matters magazine / summer 2021"