In March 2020, both Nichol Thomson and Shawn Lee found themselves at home without a live gig in site. Lee called up Thomson and said: "Now is the perfect time to make our smooth jazz trombone album"! Nichol laughed but Shawn… well, didn't! The pandemic was prime time to get smooth and jazzy!
The two had already been working together the past few years on Shawn Lee and Andy Platts' Young Gun Silver Fox project. Nichol Thomson's horn arrangements have become an important element of their sound so a collaboration between the two musicians was both natural and organic. Taking a lyrical reference from the Steely Dan song "Home At Last", The Superhighway Band was born.
Their debut album "Studio City" has become the perfect vehicle for the two multi instrumentalists to flex some collective musical muscle and kick some serious Yacht Jazz ass! Thomson handles the bass, keyboards and trombone while Lee holds down the drums, percussion and guitars. The album features the tightest horn section in show business comprised around the nucleus of Nichol Thomson and trumpeter Tom Walsh. The record features other top flight musical guests Elliot Mason, Matt Cooper, Nigel Hitchcock, Andy Ross, Jim Watson and Sean Freeman all bringing their magic touch to the proceedings. You can hear their mutual love of all things Jazz Funk and West Coast music: George Duke, CTI Records, The Brecker Brothers, Seawind, Quincy Jones' productions, The Crusaders, they all resonate in the grooves of the Superhighway sound.
If you haven't come across Nichol 'The Gift' Thomson before, he has played with some musical heavyweight: The Eagles, Level 42, Chaka Khan, Grace Jones, Tina Turner, Tom Jones to name a select few. Shawn Lee has this to say about his fellow Superhighway man: "Nichol is such a gifted player/writer/arranger. He never ceases to blow me away. Making this music has been deeply satisfying and fun."
Shawn Lee has released nearly fifty albums in his eclectic career so far. The Superhighway Band has returned Shawn to the music of his youth and represents an important piece of his musical puzzle. Nichol says: "Shawn is a walking library of musical knowledge. When you add in his insane left-field sense of humour, you're in for a seriously gratifying couple of months of record making."