Lee McAllistair
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Lee McAllistair

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia | INDIE

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia | INDIE
Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter




"Lee McAllistair - Spellbound"

Eastside Radio’s Album of the Week is Spellbound by Lee McAllistair.

Sydneysider Lee McAllistair has toured and performed at festivals and venues all over the world and has rarely sat still for the last fifteen years.

However since settling in Sydney again she has released a beautiful album of jazz, swing and Bossa Nova in the shape of Spellbound.

The album features Mark Simeon Ferguson on piano, Mike Bevan on guitar and Lyndon Gray on Bass. Lee also notes that she has taken inspiration from another Aussie vocalist Kristin Berardi, whom she has been studying with since her return to Sydney.

The comparisons to Berardi are certainly abundant, McAllistair’s sweet vocal melodies ease the listener to a fresh soundscape where it seems the sun would be always shining. However where Spellbound is most charming is within the lyrics behind the melodies. All original compositions and lyrics written by McAllistair, further magic is created in the lush dreamy sentiment provided. McAllistair’s aim in Spellbound was for people to realise that whilst life might not be an idealistic fairytale, “it’s just somehow perfect with all its flaws exactly as it is.” After listening to the album, it’s difficult not to become spellbound.

Spellbound is a release by Altered Records. For more information on Lee and the album visit

Stay closely tuned to Eastside as we are giving away a copy of the album every day this week! - Eastside Radio

"Question Time is Over Now: Lee McAllistair 5 stars"

LEE McAllistair is a talented vocalist and composer who is also tall and blonde with a glowing stage personality to match. She's ex-Adelaide - B.Mus Adelaide University - now Sydney-based, and was part of the acclaimed SA group Women With Standards.

In an intimate setting, McAllistair held a sell-out audience spellbound as she delivered her songs with exquisite expression and backing from an elegant local trio.

Borneo - written after performances there - was a lovely ballad with poetic lyrics, and the show's jaunty title song demonstrated astute social observation.

An Adelaide-produced CD of her outstanding originals plus a couple of standards is planned for release mid-year.

5 stars

Metropolitan Hotel, February 24 - The Advertiser (newspaper)

"Spellbound (Lee McAllistair) 4.5 stars"

Spellbound (Lee McAllistair) 4.5 stars, The Australian (John McBeath)

GIVEN her background, experience and abundance of exceptional vocal and compositional talents, Lee McAllistair deserves to be far better known in Australia.
Originally from Adelaide, now Sydney-based, McAllistair was a member of the SA vocal quartet Women with Standards, and studied for a bachelor of music at Adelaide's Elder Conservatorium with Jo Lawry, now co-vocalist with Sting, and Anita Wardell, who has built a successful singing career in London and Europe.
For two years McAllistair took up a teaching post in jazz vocal studies at the conservatorium, and during the past 15 years has performed in London, Edinburgh, at festivals across Asia and recorded for the BBC, London and the ABC in Australia. Her vocal style is a little reminiscent of Peggy Lee, using similar expressive phrasing, but with a mistier, more fragile quality, over a wider range, and she writes strikingly beautiful songs that work very well on musical and poetic levels.
While there is no shortage of able female jazz vocalists in Australia, there are very, very few able to write as convincingly and memorably as McAllistair.
The opening stanza of Borneo, a highly evocative ballad in 5/4 time, immediately envelops the listener in an exotic, gauzy image of tropical dreaming: "Time stands still in Borneo/Senses fill in Borneo/Can I steal away eternity?" This all-Adelaide production features pianist Mark Simeon Ferguson -- who also arranged many of the originals -- and guitarist Mike Bevan, with bassist Lyndon Gray.
The title track, Spellbound, a tempo-less ballad, opens with gentle, unearthly piano chords as the lyric describes a meeting between former lovers and the melody climbs and falls cyclically until the finale of five ascending vocal notes ends impressively in sopranino territory.
A straight-ahead, medium-tempo swinger, The Odd Couple is neatly groove-driven by bass and guitar beneath McAllistair's occasionally melismatic vocals, and the piano and guitar solos are directly from the zenith of the swing era. In a perfect delivery of honeyed scat, McAllistair begins No Cinderella, underpinned by Gray's Big Ben bass, which later takes a superbly stoked speedy solo; the lyrics are cleverly nonsensical: "Well there was no Cinderella with size twelve shoes/Yes it's a Grimm kind of fairytale of postmodern blues."
- The Australian (newspaper)


'Spellbound', Altered Records, 2011

Borneo | The Wizard | Heart Strings | Question Time | Spellbound | Nosso Canto | The Odd Couple | Stay No Cinderella | Emerald City | Flowers in your Dressing Room

Personnel: Lee McAllistair; writer all music & lyrics, vocal. Mark Simeon Ferguson; piano, arranger tracks 3,4,7, 10. Mike Bevan; guitar, Lyndon Gray, bass.



” While there is no shortage of able female jazz vocalists in Australia, there are very, very few able to write as convincingly and memorably as McAllistair.... an abundance of exceptional vocal and compositional talents” - John McBeath, The Australian

Australian jazz vocalist and composer Lee McAllistair has enjoyed an international career over the past 15 years.

In 2011 she released 'Spellbound', an album of entirely original material, which was subsequently made 'feature album of the week' on ABC Jazz and Eastside 89.7FM, made #12 of the 'Top 20 Australian Jazz 2011' list from Birdland Records, and received a 4.5 star review in major national newspaper, The Australian.

She has performed at London’s famous 606 Jazz club, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, across Asia and at major jazz festivals, events and venues around Australia and recorded for the BBC (UK), ABC (Aust), Channels 10, 9 and 7.

Lee studied with respected jazz vocalists Anita Wardell, Jo Lawry and Connaitre Miller at Adelaide University's Elder Conservatorium of Music, before going on to join the vocal jazz teaching staff at Adelaide University for two years. Since her move to Sydney, Lee has studied with Kristin Berardi and is furthered her composition studies with the Berklee College of Music Jazz Composition program (international), and the Stanford University summer jazz residency (August 2011) with Anthony Wilson, Gretchen Parlato, Rebecca Martin and Becca Stevens.

Lee performs with the creme of jazz musicians wherever she travels internationally and in Australia. Her regular line up includes James Muller on guitar, Mark Simeon Ferguson and Matt McMahon on piano, Brett Hirst on bass and Tim Firth on drums. All are winners of major awards and critical acclaim in the jazz community.

Lee McAllistair's music takes people on a poetic and beautiful journey to the heart and spirit.