A Brief Backstory
Our first gig prompted an official complaint from the examiner-in-chief at the Royal Academy of Music. It was my final recital for my masters in jazz piano, but I went in with a band full of pop musicians. The audience whooped and cheered so raucously that a formal email was sent to all students about 'appropriate' exam conditions.
But we thrived on it. We knew we were on to something.
Now, 5 years later we have a shed-load more gigging experience under our belts. Whilst touring with Alice Zawadzki over the last two years, I've had the pleasure of working with the Manchester-based Amika String Quartet. Their stunning playing led me to arrange my music for strings, and invite them to a week-long recording session in the Autumn of 2016.
This is our debut album.
We recorded for 5 days in Fieldgate studio recording some of our classic tunes as well as some brand new material.
You'll hear Pete Lee (piano/compositions), Josh Arcoleo (sax), Alex Munk (guitar), Huw Foster (bass), Ali Thynne (drums), and the Amika Strings: Laura Senior (violin), Rich Jones (violin) Lucy Nolan (viola) and Peggy Nolan (cello).
We’re immensely excited to invite you to help us continue our journey. We need to raise £5,000 within 4 weeks. If we fail to reach our target, you won't be charged a penny and we'll receive nothing. It's an incredibly nerve racking time for us, so we'd be eternally grateful for your help.
Your donations will help us:
- Mix/ Master/ Manufacture the album
- Record a final track at the studio
- Record Promotional Videos
- Pay for a PR Campaign to spread the word.
- Pay our skilled band-members.
Getting together 10 busy professional musicians is bound to be a difficult, but we've already confirmed exciting gigs in 2017 with the full 10-piece line up. We are also booking gigs for the original quintet as well as a series of events featuring a chamber ensemble (piano & strings).
The Velvet Rage
I recently read a pretty amazing book, "The Velvet Rage" by Alan Downs. Working as a psychologist in America, he's offered counselling to gay men over the last 50 years, and has become familiar with their most common personal battles. Although for the first two thirds of the book he talks quite bleakly about the most common paths for homosexual men, he finally offers wisdom and guidance towards a goal he designates as 'authentic validation'.
This album showcases compositions I've written over the last 10 years, drawing not only from my educational and professional experience, but also from the highs and lows of my own personal experience. Isn't that what we all write about? Family, friends, love and romance; those basic things that can hurt the most, but can also feel the most fulfilling. I'm keen to take full advantage of my opportunity to say something meaningful.
Gay men and women have been granted the opportunity to marry in so much of the Western World; we can walk through the streets hand-in-hand, and yet it would be naïve to think that personal struggles related to sexuality aren't still going on. Attacks on the LGBTQ community still happen, but we've seen our communities respond with an unprejudiced sense of unity. I'm just grateful that I live in an age where I can be out and proud, and express my perspective through the medium of music.
Risks and challenges
Every project comes with its own unique challenges. We'd like to be honest about the things we've found difficult so far and how we intend to overcome them in the future.
As I mentioned on the video, we're currently booking our tour dates. Getting 10 professional musicians together on the same date takes an awful lot of careful planning and the correct logistical and financial factors. However, without revealing too much, I can assure you that we've booked gigs featuring the full 10 piece line-up for the Summer of 2017! What's more, we'll also be splitting the group into two, performing as both a quintet and also a chamber group as piano and strings. This means we'll be able to play at such a wide variety of venues.
Rather than rush to finish this album, I've decided to record one more special track, using strings too. There is a possibility that this may delay the process of mixing and mastering the album, but the latest time you will receive a physical copy of the album will be Christmas 2017.
Finally I should mention that within the rewards, I included a printed and bound pad of instrumental parts. Thing is: we've never used any notation! Instead, we've used weekly rehearsals to memorise every note. Nonetheless, I'm adamant that we'll produce this memento to accompany the album.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to read about our project. It's one that's already grown and developed over several years, and with the help of the community, we hope will continue to flourish. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with any queries - we'd love to hear any of your questions and we appreciate your support more than anything.
Come and say 'hi' at www.PeteLeeMusic.com or https://www.facebook.com/PeteLeeMusic
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