Director: Tsunenori "Lee" Abe
Though born and raised in Japan, Tsunenori “Lee” Abe could not stay in just one country for his entire life. Instead, he decided to move around the world and see where music would take him. After living in Australia for a year, he toured with a musical company and performed in more than 150 shows all over the world. Performances in 12 countries included one for the Pope in Vatican City and one for the president of Slovakia.
After his return to his own nation, he established a successful career as a member of a Japanese boy band, “Baby Boo.” In addition, he was a support member of another nationally known group “Rag Fair.” Lee’s ambition, however, continued to grow even after his success in Japan. He then decided to move to the United States to pursue his passion for writing and performing jazz music. He attended and graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Jazz Composition. While at Berklee, in 2002, he founded Syncopation, an award-winning vocal jazz group.
Lee has written music for any instrumentation, from solo piano, pop rock band, big band, to world-class orchestra such as the Boston Pops. While Lee is also extremely versatile in many genres, his name is especially known in vocal jazz world as an arranger both in the US and in Japan. He won the best arranger’s award in 2008 at Harmony Sweepstakes, the world’s biggest A Cappella Competition with his arrangement of “High And Dry,” a unique interpretation of Radiohead’s classic. Many of his works, highly praised by such musical personalities as Cheryl Bentyne of the Manhattan Transfer, Kim Nazarian of New York Voices and Cedric Dent of Take 6, are currently published through YAMAHA Music Media, Sunnyside Music and University of Northern Colorado (UNC) Jazz Press, and are being sung by a lot of vocal jazz lovers across the nation.
Apart from his composing/arranging works, he has also released his solo album “Shakunage no Hana no Saku Koro” (When the Rhododendron Blooms) from the Japanese record company Bitter Valley. Since its release, his songwriting skill has been recognized as one of the unique songwriters of this time by magazines such as “CD Journal.” His compositions, lyrics and arrangements are recorded by various artists around the globe and released by Japanese, Korean and American record companies.
He is the primary arranger/composer and bandleader of Syncopation, and has performed or worked with the Boston Pops, Keith Lockhart, Luciana Souza, Cheryl Bentyne, Phil Wilson, Tiger Ohkoshi, Carlos Kanno, Saigenji, Hiroyuki Noritake, Satoru ‘SALT’ Shionoya among other greats. Tsunenori “Lee” Abe has been the director of Boston Jazz Voices since 2007.