Lees, Gene [Frederick Eugene John ]
[Frederick Eugene John ]
(b Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Feb 8, 1928; d Ojai, CA, April 22, 2010). Canadian writer, editor, and lyricist. He received an extensive education in music, which included conservatory study at Hamilton (1949) and later at the Berklee School of Music (1961–2) as well as private lessons in theory, composition, singing, piano, and guitar. Having begun his career as a reporter and critic with the Hamilton Spectator, Toronto Telegram, and Montreal Star (1948–55) he served as editor and critic in music and drama for the Louisville Times (1955–8). From 1959 to 1961 he was editor of Down Beat. He was also a contributing editor and columnist for Stereo Review (1962–5), High Fidelity (1966–79), and American Film (1977–80). In 1981, in Ojai, California, he founded the Gene Lees Jazzletter, a private monthly publication which presents essays on jazz and related topics. Lees worked extensively as a lyricist; in particular, his translations from Portuguese to English of songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim were important in the popularization of bossa nova during the mid-1960s. He was a music commentator for the Canadian Broadcasting Company and Sveriges Radio Television. Later he published a rhyming dictionary, anthologies of his essays, biographies of Oscar Peterson and Woody Herman, a collection of photographs and brief biographies (with J. Reeves), and a controversial survey of jazz and race....