Invoice Lee, jazz bassist and father of filmmaker Spike Lee, dies at 94


Invoice Lee, a jazz bassist who performed with Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin and Duke Ellington, who was additionally the daddy of filmmaker Spike Lee, died at his Brooklyn residence Wednesday morning. He was 94.

Spike Lee confirmed his father’s loss of life by way of Instagram, sharing a collection of black-and-white portraits taken by youthful brother David Charles Lee.

Invoice Lee composed scores for a number of of Spike Lee’s early movies, together with “She’s Gotta Have It” (1986), “College Daze” (1988), “Do The Proper Factor” (1989) and “Mo’ Higher Blues” (1990).

Born William James Edwards Lee III in Snow Hill, Ala., on July 23, 1928, Invoice Lee was the son of two musicians. “My studying in music began with my mom and father,” he mentioned throughout a 2012 interview with jazz bassist Jonah Jonathan. He instilled the identical love of music in a few of his personal youngsters: David performed piano, Pleasure practiced bass, Cinqué performed drums, Chris took up trumpet and Spike performed cello.

Lee advised The Occasions in 1994 that his great-great-great-grandfather Mike was the defiant son of an African king and that his grandfather went to high school with Booker T. Washington.

“I went to high school with Martin Luther King,” he added.

Impressed by saxophonist Charlie “Fowl” Parker, Lee forayed into jazz, choosing up his first bass whereas attending Morehouse School in Atlanta. However as a result of the traditionally Black faculty didn’t have a music division, he really frolicked at Spelman School, one other HBCU in Atlanta
the place he sang within the glee membership and performed within the quartet.

After graduating from Morehouse in 1951, Lee traveled by practice to Chicago‘s South Aspect, the place there was a strong jazz scene. He made his option to New York Metropolis in 1959.

“New York is the epitome of jazz to me,” Lee mentioned. “All the good musicians come right here.”

There he recorded on Strata-East Information, a musician-owned label, and based and directed the New York Bass Violin Choir, described as a “narrative folks, jazz opera” with items like “One Mile East,” impressed by rising up within the South close to former slave quarters.

After collaborating on a number of movies, Invoice and Spike had a falling out within the Nineteen Nineties that in accordance with each males was a very long time coming. Invoice Lee advised The Occasions in 1994 that the turmoil stemmed from Spike Lee being displeased with the bassist’s relationship along with his second spouse, Susan Kaplan, and got here to a head when he requested to borrow cash from his son after getting arrested for heroin possession.

“I’m glad I used to be arrested. It woke me up. … Dope was not a part of my life till I used to be 40 years outdated,” Invoice Lee mentioned.

Nonetheless, Spike Lee revered his father’s musical genius. “All the pieces I learn about jazz I received from my father,” the filmmaker advised the New York Occasions in 1990. “I noticed his integrity, how he was not going to play simply any type of music, irrespective of how a lot cash he may make.”

Along with Kaplan and Spike Lee, the elder Lee is survived by sons David and Cinqué, daughter Joie Lee, and Arnold Lee, his son along with his second spouse; a brother, A. Clifton Lee; and two grandchildren. Christopher Lee died in 2014, and first spouse Jacquelyn Lee died in 1977.

Related Press contributed to this report.


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