Jazz-fusion guitarist Lee Jones is an up and coming protégé of 80s dance-fused jazz, recalling of Chuck Mangione and Steely Dan. Though Jones was merely a toddler in the late 80s, he plays as if he was weaned on 80s pop-styled jazz. His debut album Swish is a profusion of rainbow flavors culling dance-funk grooves, smooth jazz nuances, club soul-inspired arias, ambient blues moon-drops and piercing riffs with an otherworldly-trippy intonation.
His guitar chords range from being beautifully bowed, like in "Majik," to bouncing vigorously and reveling in the dance-funk grooves and sprightly keyboard ripples of Alex Steele along the title track. The bluesy treads that he tacks onto his cover of Phil Nicholl and Ehud Manor’s tune "One Little Blue Note" are stellar and his exchanges with saxophonist Pete Parkinson on "Cookin’ On Gas" gives the number a sleek sliding that’s sweet and stimulates the luminous sparkles emanating from the harmonic forms.
Jones hails from Shropshire, England, though he plays like he comes from world-class jazz central. So young and yet he is on his way to becoming a presario of modern jazz presenting eight original tunes on his album and one cover. The romantic hue of "Retrospective" is softly tiled in glittering guitar doodles that branch out and retract moving with an intimate stroking, while the club-inspired vibrations of "Halfway House" are nicely spangled in soulful flutters from Parkinson’s flute as Jones’ guitar provides a downy padding. "Dorian Diversion" has shavings of dance-jazz vaunts, which wane down to a slow bluesy drift in "Out Of The Day" berth in beautiful guitar twirls extending a loving touch in its tender drags and lifts. It is by far, the one song that will make you stop and admire what this young man is capable of making and displays how his music is able to touch you intimately. It is the one song on the album that seems like it was written to communicate with the audience and not with the musicians in his band.
Lee Jones honed his chops playing a variety of music festivals including the Cheltenham Jazz Festival Fringe and the Birmingham International Jazz Festival, in addition to performing as a sideman for Tom Hill and The Straitjackets. His playing crosses paths with the dance-fused jazz of Chuck Mangione and the sleek modulated sprints of Steely Dan. Jones gives merit to the works of George Benson, Larry Carlton, John Scofield and Pat Metheny as his influences delivering a debut album that brings all of these talents under one umbrella. His album Swish is a sonic gallery that features the familiar sounds of 80s dance-inspired jazz pancaked with bluesy-soul manifestations and modern-pop jazz juxtapositions. It is like he took all of the good rainbow flavors of jazz and fused them into one album.