Buro 24/7 Singapore Weekly Playlist #94: Aaron James Lee

Year in review

Text: Aaron James Lee

Ahead of their performance at Sing Jazz 2017, Aaron James Lee of The Steve McQueens shares his favourite tunes from the past year

As grateful as I am to be a part of this year's festival, I am equally grateful to be able to be alive and playing music. This playlist is dedicated to my "searching" of whatever it may be of music. The playlist comprises 10 of my favourite tunes that I have had the pleasure of coming across over the past year. Each of the musicians featured on it have influenced me up till now and will probably continue to inspire me.

When I first heard Shiny Stockings by Count Basie Big Band, it displayed elegance in the happiest and most charming fashion. It felt extremely grounded, the way the horns are always a little behind the beat and how their lines are all connected so well. It really stands out to me. Originally written by Sonny Rollins, Bobby Broom's version of Airegin was the version of the tune that I could not stop listening to for months. Bobby Broom with Dennis Carroll and Kobie Watkins are my favourite guitar trio! They stretch till no end with fluidity and direction, without losing intensity and that sassy groove.

Thelonious Monk is one of my favourite composers. He has the ability to express himself in such a pure form that you just know it's him, like on Trinkle Trinkle. The ability to sound so out but in and at the same time being cheeky and forward with his expression is what attracts me to him. 

Choosing between Billie Holiday's version and Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's version of Autumn in New York was a tough choice. I went with the earlier because it speaks the melody in a sadly beautiful way which makes me feel bittersweet. Also a tough choice, Resolution is a tune that will always make me feel connected. The feeling that Coltrane is able to express into music is crazy. It's something that I cannot put to words. The storm that the rhythm section creates behind such a frontman just makes the whole Coltrane experience right.

Aaron James Lee will be performing at the Singapore International Jazz Festival 2017 on 31 March. For tickets, click here.