b'exquisite Rob Allen fret-less bass sits on its stand. That same bass will be in hisverycapablehands duringtheupcoming show at SOPAC.SOPAC is near and deartomyheart,you know?Itsjustagreat venue,saysLee,who has been involved with thecentersinceitfirst John Lee on bass with Roy Hargrove on trumpet.opened.Hewasinte-gralinbringingYo-Yo Theme from Mission: Impossible. Ma to play SOPACs Inaugural Grand Lee is now executive director of theOpeningGalaFundraiserin2006. threeDizzybands:theDizzyGil- ButLeehashelpedthecommunity lespieBigBand,theDizzyGillespiecelebrate jazz in South Orange for over All Stars, and the Dizzy Gillespie Afro- two decades. He founded the Giants Latin Experience. And perhaps Arethaof Jazz series in 1997 which was held Franklin said it best when the Afro- intheauditoriumatSouthOrange LatinExperienceperformedatherMiddleSchoolbeforeitmovedover 72 nd birthdaytoSOPAC. extravaganza:Perhaps Aretha Franklin said itLastyear Ohman,best when the Afro-Latin Ex- wouldhave theyaresobeenour good, its justperience performed at her 72 nd twenty-third ridiculous. birthday extravaganza: Ohyear, he says. Astheman, they are so good, its justWerehop-subjectturnsridiculous. ingtohold to his record- itagainthis ingandpro- comingNo-ducing career,This interview withvember. rep- KELLER WILLIAMSLee gestures to a small, gilded gramo- John Lee phonestatuetheGrammyawardresents something else that wasnt partMID-TOWN DIRECTthat he won in 2019 for the work heofthemanytopicsdiscussedduring did on Jazz Bat 2 by Cuban pianistour time together. It was our first in- PROUDLY CELEBRATESChucho Valds. Lee served as the re- person interview conducted since the cording engineer, producer, and mixer.pandemicbegan.Andasweshookpride monthAnd now the Best Latin Jazz/Jazz Al- hands and discussed seeing each other bum title can be added to his manyat the Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Latin Ex-accolades. perience show in June, the expanse of BeforemovingtoSouthOrange,Dizzy Gillespies jazz lineage felt even Lee was living in Maplewood and look- morepowerful.JohnLeeismaking ing for just the right house to serve assure that jazz is built to last.a recording studio as well. In 1992, heTheDizzyGillespieAfro-Latin and his wife Patrice moved to their cur- Experience will perform at the South rent home, which was built in 1929.OrangePerformingArtsCenteron The wooden floors are fantastic and itSaturday, June 19 at 8:00 p.m. Visit has nice, thick walls, he says. Goodsopacnow.org/events/dizzy-gillespie, recording is about isolation. With thatcall973-313-2787oremail in mind, Lee has wired up the houseboxoffice@SOPACnow.org. soheisabletosetupmusiciansinDonny Levit is a writer and Maplewood their ideal places. He often positionsresident. He is the author of "Rock n Roll adrummernearthebreakfastnook.Lies, 10 Stories." You can hear him DJ Thelivingroomfeaturesabelovedhisindierockshow"UndertheInflu- 973.762.5400 grandpianothatLeeacquiredfromence" and his jazz show "Kind of Pool"181 Maplewood Ave. the famed Hit Factory when its Weston Bone Pool Radio. Follow him on In- kwmtdr.com54th Streetheadquarterscloseddownstagram@undertheinfluenceradioandEach office is independently owned and operated. in 2005. And in a corner nearby, Lees@kindofpoolradio.Octavio Mendes, Broker of Record. feature story /13'