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Windowsill

by Lauren Lee

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    With beautiful photography by Gwendolyn Mercer and design by Matthew Golombisky, grab one before they run out. This CD also comes with a digital download and one instant download NOW!

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about

Lauren Lee is a forward-thinking vocalist, pianist, and composer based in New York City on a wild goose chase of sorts to find her own sound in the adventurous music scene as a young innovator. On Windowsill, you’ll hear a different approach to composition and improvisation coming from this young vocalist where her melodies skip and bounce all while being doubled by piano and voice, both under the control of Lee’s masterful touch. You’ll hear her doubling improvisations on piano or Fender Rhodes with her voice giving us a hint at some of Kurt Rosenwinkel’s The Next Step with an added freshness to the sonic palette. Virtuosic solos are common from bassist Marcos Varela as he’s presented with adventuresome harmony and daring percussive support.

The first “window” on this aural exploit was an actual journey to Switzerland, with Lee accepting an Artist-in-Residence opportunity in the Alps in a small town near the Italian border. The views alone would be enough to seduce anyone into sitting down and writing a few tunes, but it wasn’t just the mountains that sang in her mind. It was a reflection on the place she had just come from (she played the Stockholm Jazz Festival prior to arriving in Switzerland) and on the places, she would be heading afterward (Bormio, Milan, and Berlin, specifically). She had been to Berlin previously and was excited about what kind of adventures could lay ahead in these places that were not her home. We first get a glimpse of a soundcloud with long vocal tones before leaping into an angular call-and-response melody between a piano/voice combo against “So What-type” responses from the sax/bass. And just seconds later a new timbre is introduced in this just quartet line-up: flute. Loose backbeats change to and fro mixing where one might expect a downbeat, Lee takes a soaring piano solo seamlessly transitioning into a long tone, reaching-feel solo from Mulholland on alto sax gradually winding down for an explosive bass solo finalizing in yet another new timbre: clarinet. Mulholland and Lee’s musical chemistry is further emphasized on the outro, which blossoms into a multi-layered duet of differing vocal and woodwind textures. The outro gives us a glance into something we don’t often experience on jazz releases, but here offers yet another timbre of sorts when Lee allows herself to overdub layers of long vocal yearnings.

The title track’s ominous and simple beginnings lay the groundwork for an expedition where anything is possible, like opening your eyes on a fresh, new day. Lee’s delicate, wordless vocals, sometimes matching in perfect harmony with her piano playing, blend seamlessly into the instrumental texture of the music.

As she played out various scenarios in her mind, the tunes wrote themselves for Windowsill. The solitude of working in a small town in the Alps also created a bit of time for loneliness, longing, and reflection, which made their way onto tracks like So Long, a love song she wrote while being apart from her fiance for 6 weeks. That, coupled with the overall upbeat and audacious spirit of the album, has the power to take the listener on an emotional journey, be it through the mundane of everyday life, or on the adventure of a lifetime.

The title track, Windowsill, is based on what would be a whimsical, fictional journey of someone other than Lee, but instead her cat, Smeagol. The album got its name as she was writing the tune that would later be called Windowsill right after she returned home from touring in Europe, still fresh and eager to write. As she sketched harmonies at the piano, she watched her cat gazing longingly out the window with such hope and anticipation. She wondered if he was hunting on the savannah, like a big cat would, pouncing on the birds and squirrels outside, or eating an endless supply of meats that were just for him. When she sat down to write, he assumed his position in his perch, and thus, Windowsill was born. On this track, we get a daring and darting solo from Mulholland on clarinet and again the layering of Lee’s voice gives us a soothing pad of sounds, hinting at indie-pop star St. Vincent.

In ‘Get Off Me’, the 3rd track on the album and at just under the 4 ½ minute mark, we finally hear the seemingly composed solo with solid execution between the improvisation between two “personalities” of Lee, voice, and piano. She darts around both instruments doubling the solo in such a way that not usual and has a freshness that is fulfilling in the overall scheme of the album.

As the quartet plays on, experimenting with timbres and colors that take the listener to faraway and fantastical places all the way to the end with the appropriately titled closing track, She Who Journeys, one thing is certain: Lee has no intentions of slowing down.

Windowsill will be released on the indie label, ears&eyes Records, on October 18th, 2019.

credits

released October 18, 2019

Lauren Lee - piano/Rhodes/voice/composer
Brad Mulholland - alto sax/clarinet/flute
Marcos Varela - acoustic bass
Andy O’Neill - drums

All music composed & arranged by Lauren Lee (BMI)
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Chris Benham at Big Orange Sheep in Brooklyn NY
Layout, and design by Matthew Golombisky
Cover photo by Gwendolyn Mercer

Links:
Website: www.laurenleejazz.com
Facebook: facebook.com/laurenleejazz
YouTube: youtube.com/laurenleejazz
Instagram: instagram.com/laurenleejazz
BandCamp: laurenleejazz.bandcamp.com

ears&eyes Records: www.earsandeyesrecords.com, earsandeyesrecords.bandcamp.com, twitter.com/earseyesRecords, soundcloud.com/earseyesrecords, facebook.com/earsandeyesrecords, instagram.com/earsandeyesrecords,

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about

Lauren Lee Brooklyn, New York

Pianist/ vocalist/ composer based in Brooklyn NY.

New album out on ears&eyes Records this Oct. 18th

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Track Name: X-Berg
Never felt as cool while still feeling like it don’t belong,
never felt at home while still feeling like it could be wrong,
I match my surroundings, yes, I match my surroundings, yet
All the effort that I put not trying to fit in

Never seen a place like this, dark and dreary, full of life,
Club-Mate and cigarettes, try to wash it out of my
Coat myself with confidence, coat myself with confidence,
boost it with another light-up, with another light

So it could kill you, does it make you glad?

I thought I found paradise, looking out, they’re all the same
No mind expectation, but I am still so glad I came
Leisure courts abandonment, a small price to pay for the time
I thought I found paradise, sadly though, it isn’t mine
Track Name: Get Off Me
You see me the way you want to see, a reflection of your own toxicity. But let me guide you to reality.

I don’t see how it’s of your concern, It’s like you’re watching me at every turn. Obsession seems to be the word.

Continuous messages, I can’t digest them all, how can I be myself living with all this shame and embarrassment over something you said,why should I let it have power over my life.

Don’t hide behind back-handed compliments, any grown woman knows that don’t make sense, don’t undermine my intelligence.

I hope you get to sleep at night, take comfort in the fact you think you’re right. You clearly don’t understand my fight.

Continuous messages, I can’t digest them all, how can I be myself living with all this shame and embarrassment over something you said,why should I let it have power over my life.

Don’t worry your pretty little head about anything you might have said, it’s my fault, I got out of bed

Continuous messages, I can’t digest them all, how can I be myself living with all this shame and embarrassment over something you said,why should I let it have power over my life.
Track Name: Peaks and Valleys
Still, still, still, still, still, is the night
Light has said goodbye for now
Hiding behind the hills

Dark, dark, dark, dark, dark, are the hours
Hours passing by like minutes when I try to picture a new day that’s

Bright, bright, full of light, night has come to this
Stealing through the valleys, blue light peaks and says hello
Track Name: Tomorrow Is Coming
Today may be grim, but somewhere else the sun’s shining
A few hours south of here there may be some respite from the cold

Today may be hard, but someone else’s life is inevitably harder
Time will take all your worries away

Until you have walked a mile in my shoes, you will have no idea
Until I have witnessed hardships that I could never endure

Today might seem like it’s a waste of energy,
And all I can do is remind you,
Tomorrow,
Is coming
Track Name: So Long
I’ve been waiting so long, I can tell you now
I’ve been waiting so long, I can tell you how I’ve been feeling, how I’ve been dealing with
All the things I’ve yet to say

Felt this buildup inside, though I can’t complain
Get this tingle any time I hear your name,
Not ashamed to be any more
Girl you take my breath away

I don’t mind anymore,
I’ve so much to explore
Everyday with you is such a joy

I won’t hide anymore
Part of me I can’t ignore
Glad that I can navigate this with someone who is so shameless

I have all I ever wanted right here in front of me
I know how lucky life can be

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