For drummer Lee Fish, it all started at a young age, traveling on the road with his musician parents. His unique life experiences and talent led him to become one of the most highly sought after drummers at Berklee College of Music as well as in the Boston area. Currently, he lives in Boston, and plays regularly with various musicians and groups including the Jason Palmer Collective, the Mike Tucker Organ Trio, the Evgeny Lebedev "World Trio", the Primary Colors, and the Mike Thomas Group to name a few. You can also see him perform every Friday and Saturday night at the historic Wally's Cafe with Jason Palmer's Band.
While at Berklee, Lee was a member of Phil Wilson's Rainbow Band and Greg Hopkins' Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra, along with many student groups performing coast to coast as well as Japan and Europe. Recently, he has done tours and played festivals in Russia, Europe, Canada, and the U.S. and has recorded with artists including Esperanza Spalding, Gary Burton, Charles McPherson, Warren Wolf, George Garzone, Hal Crook, Jason Palmer, Nir Felder, Greg Osby, David Gilmore, Julian Lage, the Kendrick Oliver New Life Jazz Orchestra, Lawrence Fields, and many more.
Examiner sat down with Fish to hear how it all began.
Examiner: How did you wind up in the music industry?
Fish: "I grew up in a musical family. My parents both play and sing (mom-piano, dad-guitar).
My mom was on the road performing up to the day I was born, and continued shortly after. Being part of the music industry was something I knew that I wanted.
I was also always attracted to the drums. As far back as I can remember, they always had the most appeal! Maybe it was the rhythm aspect, maybe the sound, or maybe the visual of the cymbals and big colorful drums... I'd say all the above! Before I was playing myself, I would sit behind the drums and watch the drummer in my parents band as they rehearsed. In awe, it was almost like a gravitational pull."
Examiner: What other instruments do you play?
Fish: "I also sing and play piano. Piano has always been the way I compose my music. These days I'm also teaching some private drum and piano lessons.
I started singing and playing drums around the age of 3. Actually, from what my mom told me, as soon as I could sit up, I was grabbing whatever I could to use as a drum."
Examiner: What are some of your career highlights thus far?
Fish: "One of the highlights of my career was recently playing a concert at the Berklee Performance Center with the great Gary Burton. What an inspiring musician!! Playing with him was an incredible learning experience for me. I also spent some time playing with Esperanza Spauldings band. That was a blast as well! I've also been working with a well established trumpet player named Jason Palmer for almost 10 years now. Playing with him and his bands has been awesome, and I feel as though his playing and compositions have influenced my playing a great deal."
Examiner: Any road stories?
Fish: "I was literally a road baby. I traveled on the road with my parents from the time I was born to the time I was in middle school. I was able to see so much of the county, and my mom home-schooled me up to high school. When we were "at home" in Stoneham, MA, I would go to school part time for certain classes. I always think of my mom as the one who taught me everything though. She taught me about life, music, how to read... seriously everything. It was a blast! Truly unique and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I can go on and on about the travels."
Examiner: What type of music do you like to play, listen too?
Fish: "I really do love all styles of music. Of course some more than others. I grew up being exposed to everything from soul, r&b, jazz, rock, pop, world music from so many different countries, and more. Finding new music from all over the world was one of my mom's favorite things to do. My mom and dad were always playing music at home and on the road. I was lucky to have so much music around me all the time!"
Examiner: Any recent recordings?
Fish: "On the Road" by Evgeny Lebedev World Trio -http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/evgenylebedevworldtrio ("Two and a Half" -my composition) released in Art-Beat Records in 2013, The Mike Tucker Organ Trio! + 1 (Live) [feat. Jake Sherman, Lee Fish & Warren Wolf] -http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/themiketuckerorgantrio1 released in May 2012.
I've recorded fifteen albums to date with the latest being, "Progress Report" with David Neves in 2014."
Upcoming gigs for Fish:
February 4, 2014 with Ricardo Grilli (cd release) - Scullers Jazz Club, Cambridge, MA.
February 11, 2014 with David Neves (cd release) - Scullers Jazz Club, Cambridge, MA.
May 3, 2014 with: Evgeny Lebedev World Trio - The Made In NY Jazz Competition 2013 gala finale concert at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center NYC.
May 30, 2014 with: Mike Tucker Organ Trio - Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, Burlington, VT.
June 3, 2014 with: Warren Wolf - Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, Burlington, VT.