Julian Lee Profile

Chris Bourke
20 May 2013

Julian Lee was nicknamed "Golden Ears" for good reason. Blind since birth, he had acute listening skills that helped him become an internationally acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger.

His ears didn’t just help him spot a flat note coming from the back row of the brass section, they also helped him recognise people saying hello in the street, decades after they had last met.

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Julian Lee, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and mentor
Julian Lee.
Photo credit: Dennis Huggard
Esme Stevens on vocals, George Campbell on bass, Frank Gibson Sr on drums. Back row: Bob Davis, Dale Alderton, Murray Tanner, Neil Bruce, Heck Dainty, Front row: Norm Powell, Colin Martin, Julian Lee, Pem Sheppard, Jim Watters. Standing: Bob Leach. 1ZB Radio Theatre, early 1950s
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Julian Lee at his ham radio
Don Burrows Band: L-R Don Burrows, Frank Gibson Jr, Julian Lee, Andy Brown, George Golla
Sunday jam session, Epi Shalfoon band, early 1950s: Jack Clague (trombone), Julian Lee (trumpet), Frank Gibson (drums), Bob Ewing (bass), Allen Posley (piano), Ray Gunter (guitar)
Photo credit: Frank Gibson Jr. Collection
Bon mots from Julian Lee on a return visit to Dunedin, 1969
Photo credit: Ross Somerville collection
Ricky May and The Julian Lee Orchestra, 1988
Julian Lee Big Band
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