USD Jazz Unlimited will feature Mike Lee

USD Jazz Unlimited will feature Mike Lee The University of South Dakota College of Fine Arts Department of Music will present its annual "Jazz Unlimited" concert on Wednesday, April 11, at 8 p.m. in Slagle Auditorium in Slagle Hall on the USD campus.

Mike Lee, a New York-based jazz musician who plays tenor and soprano saxophones as well as clarinet, will be featured soloist with USD's two big bands and jazz combo. In addition to performing Lee's compositions, the bands will play music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Thelonious Monk. The concert is free.

Directors of USD Jazz Ensembles are Rolf Olson and C.J. Kocher.

Lee, a native of Cleveland, OH, has performed with the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Village Vanguard Orchestra, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, James Williams, Mulgrew Miller, and many others. He has also performed with jazz great Joe Lovano, who described Lee as "a very gifted and exciting young saxophonist who has the future in his sound." Lee also leads his own small group which has released two CDs, Above the Battle Ground, and My Backyard.

Active as both a performer and jazz educator, Lee will be on campus at The University of South Dakota April 10 and 11 presenting clinics on jazz improvisation and saxophone, as well as rehearsing and working with student performing groups.

"Every time I do a clinic I feel like it's something I was born to do. I love it. You have an audience of people, most of whom aspire to do what you're doing. With the integration between speaking and playing, you can really tell the audience what you want them to listen for. And that helps me focus my goals on what I want to accomplish with my playing," Lee said.

All clinics as well as the concert are free and open to the public. Kocher, assistant professor of saxophone and jazz studies at The University of South Dakota, said, "This is a great opportunity for students to hear and interact with a world-class jazz musician. With support from a visiting scholar grant from the university, the Selmer Corporation, and USD Performing Arts and Program Council, we're able to present this concert free to the public, giving them an evening of some really great music."

For more information on clinics presented by Lee, contact Kocher at 677-5728 or

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