Mike Lee’s New Tricks played this past Thursday for Jazz Night at McGillicuddy’s. By 9 p.m. the restaurant was full of jazz enthusiasts eating, drinking and taking in the talent, with only standing room available in the main room. The band, unusual for a jazz quartet in that they do not have a piano or guitar, substituted a trumpet instead. Knox music professor and Jazz Night organizer Nikki Malley spoke about the band.
“They’re a little bit of a different type of quartet. Without a guitar or piano the sound is really different. The horns are more interactive. They’re also young guys writing new material, rather than just recycling jazz standards,” said Malley.
The audience certainly appreciated the unique sound of the quartet. Sophomore John Cusimano said, “I think they’re really great. Their improvisation is really great.”
Freshman Ben Kammerer also commented, saying, “They’re really rhythmically complex. They do a good job keeping their songs together.”
Malley spoke about how Mike Lee’s New Tricks came to play at Jazz Night.
“I’ve known Mike over 10 years. He was a Rootabaga Festival artist back in the 90s. He was playing a Midwestern tour this summer and I contacted him,” said Malley.
The overall experience of the band was defined by the interplay between the saxophone and trumpet punctuated by bass and drum interludes.