Alvin Lee musical virtuosity
Alvin Lee was an English guitarist and singer-songwriter, born on December 19, 1944, in Nottingham, England. He was best known for his outstanding musicianship and his ability to play rock, blues, and jazz-influenced music. Alvin Lee was a founding member and lead guitarist of the legendary blues-rock band Ten Years After, which formed in 1966.
Lee was born into a family of musicians. His father was a jazz saxophonist and his mother was a singer. He started playing guitar at the age of 13 and quickly became skilled at it. By the time he was 15, he had formed his first band, The Jaybirds. In 1966, Lee formed Ten Years After with bassist Leo Lyons, drummer Ric Lee, and keyboardist Chick Churchill. The band’s name was inspired by Elvis Presley’s song “That’s All Right (Mama),” which included the line “That’s all right now, Mama, anyway you do.”
Ten Years After’s breakthrough came with their performance at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Their electrifying performance of “I’m Going Home” was one of the highlights of the festival and brought the band worldwide attention. The band’s blend of blues, rock, and jazz influences, combined with Lee’s virtuosity on the guitar, made them one of the most exciting live acts of the era.
Lee’s guitar playing was characterized by his lightning-fast fingerpicking style, his ability to seamlessly switch between different genres, and his innovative use of feedback and distortion effects. His solos were always tasteful, melodic, and full of soul. He was equally comfortable playing acoustic or electric guitar and was known for his use of a Gibson ES-335 semi-hollow body electric guitar.
Lee’s musical virtuosity was evident in his ability to play a wide range of styles. He was equally comfortable playing blues, rock, and jazz, and often incorporated elements of all three into his playing. His blues playing was rooted in the tradition of blues guitarists such as B.B. King and Freddie King, but he added his own unique twist to it. He was also influenced by the jazz guitarists Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian, and often used jazz chord progressions and improvisation techniques in his playing.
In addition to his work with Ten Years After, Lee also had a successful solo career. He released his first solo album, “On the Road to Freedom,” in 1973, and went on to release several more albums over the years. His solo work often incorporated elements of country and folk music, as well as rock and blues.
Alvin Lee passed away on March 6, 2013, at the age of 68. He left behind a legacy as one of the greatest guitarists of his generation. His musical virtuosity and his ability to seamlessly blend different genres of music made him a true innovator in the world of guitar playing. His influence can be heard in the work of countless guitarists who came after him, and his music continues to inspire new generations of musicians today.