Jihye Lee Orchestra

Daring Mind
(Motéma 0385)

In 2018, South Korean composer/leader Jihye Lee won the BMI Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize for her big band chart “Unshakeable Mind,” which led to a commission for a second piece, “Revived Mind.” These two compositions, complex tapestries woven out of simple threads, illustrate the high concept behind Daring Mind, the composer’s ruminations on her adopted home of New York.

Lee translates into music the emotional essence of the urban environment. She’ll unleash the rhythm section on the wispy woodwinds to signal unexpected aggression, or deploy the horn section to conjure the thrill of new adventures. She uses these devices on the BMI-sponsored pieces, but expands into ominous dissonance and jarring staccato on “Dissatisfied Mind” and bustling brass over soothing, repetitious chordal sections on “Relentless Mind.”

The album’s remaining tracks explore Lee’s flair for disparate moods. The 6/8 feel of “Suji” is all the more intoxicating for its subdued instrumentation, in contrast with the slow 3 of “Struggle Gives You Strength,” an anthem of rousing proportions (with standout soloing by trumpeter Sean Jones).

The album’s final track, “GB,” draws on Lee’s interest in scoring and serves as a capstone for the collection. Stirring and filmic in scope, the tune changes hues at every turn—just like the city that so captivates Lee’s imagination.

On Sale Now
May 2024
Stefon Harris
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