Hi! Thanks for stopping by. My name is Rodney Lee and I like to make music.
My biggest musical inspiration came from my father. While he didn’t play an instrument, he was a true fan of music with a vast record collection and an insatiable appetite for jazz – his favorite era being the soul jazz that emerged in the 60’s propelled by artists such as Cannonball Adderly, Stanley Turrentine, Gene ‘Jug’ Ammons, and Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers — but most of all he loved the greasy, down home, hard swinging music swirling out of the Leslie cabinets of the Hammond B3 players: Jimmy Smith, Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes, Jack McDuff, and Jimmy McGriff.
My dad had reel to reel tape machines, and he would meticulously make ‘mix tapes’ of his favorite tracks! This was the soundtrack to my early years on earth, and that music had a profound impact on the musician I was to become.
I studied classical piano and jazz organ through high school and entered college as an applied organ major. I quickly realized in my freshman year that it was not my calling to be a classical concert organist or an organist in a Catholic Church. Both of these paths were taking me too far away from the groove! I had always enjoyed math and science so I switched my major to Electrical Engineering while continuing my music education ‘on the streets’ playing in funk bands and leading my own organ trio. I followed this path through graduate school, eventually earning an MSEE degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
Post college found me sitting at a desk designing integrated circuits for Bell Laboratories in Boston while playing funk on the weekends and gospel organ on Sunday mornings. After four years, I decided that the corporate road was a little too straight for the hard swinging imprint made to my DNA in my formative years — so in 1991 I quit my job, packed my bags, and headed west to Los Angeles.
Since then I have carved out a rewarding life in music that has exceeded all of my expectations. With the groove as my guide, I have been fortunate to record, produce, and perform with many talented artists and musicians in genres from RnB, Post Bop, Acid Jazz, Pop, Contemporary Jazz, Blues, Rock, and Electronic. And I am as excited now about music as I was in those early days when my father would push play on one of his latest mix tapes.
On the wings of a song, music has taken me all over the planet, and I live for those times when I’m on stage, the band is on fire, heads are bobbing, bodies are moving, and the groove reigns supreme. That is when my DNA aligns with the universe, and all is right with the world. Thanks Dad!!
On the Wings of a Song
She jumps and dances and never fights the spin
leaps and turns through whatever day she’s in
Life is her companion, her best friend
and she changes directions with the wind
She goes left then right
and laughs through sleepless days and nights
(Wide-eyed passion with the blind trust of a child)
So I sold my worldly things, packed up my dreams
and traded them for wings.
And somewhere between Milan and Rome
she touched my hand and said welcome home.
She consumes all of me, seduces and intoxicates
I believe everything she says and take all the pills she takes
She turns emotions to colour and visual sound
and I feel more like myself when she’s around
So I surrendered my worldly thoughts
changed my religion and sold those lies I was taught,
And somewhere in Capetown below the Table Mountain lights,
she held out her hand and gave me back my life.