Bass Forward | Toronto's Robert Lee: 'Cha-Ran' (August 26, 2022 / TPR Records)

With material from a media release

Bass Forward
Toronto's Robert Lee: Cha-Ran
(August 26, 2022 / ℗ 2022 TPR Records)

Toronto bassist Robert Lee's new release puts the bass centre stage in melodic and often mesmerizing music. You could call it global jazz, or fusion of sorts. It's unique and inventive, and quite compelling. 

Robert Lee - Cha-Ran

In his hands, the bass becomes a lyrical solo instrument, capable of carrying the tune, so to speak.

Lee weaves his intricate bass lines in and out of the vocals, with electronic keyboard as a sweet edged harmonic backdrop in The King and the Mountain, the first single from the release. It's typical of the mix of moods and genres on the release.

‘Cha-Ran’ is the sophomore album of bassist and composer Robert Lee. He combines jazz and the spirit of improvisation with melodic and harmonic elements inspired by Korean folk stories and music. 

Peaks and Spires of the Summer Clouds


"The main goal of this music is to evoke the same emotion that is perceived from the narrative storytelling of Studio Ghibli films (i.e. Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle)," he writes in a release. 

The music is evocative, with elements of straight jazz melded to other genres. The mix has an organic and natural flow. Lee has used multiple collaborators and a range of instrumentation on the album, creating a fresh sound that always seems to have a surprise up its sleeve. 

He'll be touring in support of the release.

Personnel: Robert Lee: Upright bass, Compositions, Lyrics; Carolina Alabau: Vocals (Tracks 1-3, 5, 6); Mateo Falgas - vocals, lyrics (Track 4); Nina Nicolaiewsky - vocals, lyrics (Track 7); Mai Choma - violin (Track 1); Marco Pisani - Guitar (Tracks 2, 3, 5, 6); Kris Ramakrishna - flamenco guitar (Track 1); Brandon Atwell - vibraphone, Marimba (Tracks 1, 2, 6); Marc-Olivier Poingt - piano (Tracks 3, 5); Songah Chae - piano (Track 4); Adem Mehmedović - piano (Track 1); Tetyana Haraschuk - drums (Tracks 1-6) 

The King and the Mountain