Primary Instrument: Piano
Born in the United States into a musical family, Lee was introduced to the piano by his father at the age of four, and began private lessons the following year. He made his first public appearances at Carnegie Recital Hall and The Brooklyn Academy, before entering The Manhattan School of Music at the age of thirteen. Lee went on to major in piano performance at Berklee College, Boston, and continued his studies with Josef Raiff at The Juilliard School, and with Grace Castagnetta, a pupil of the renowned concert artist, Josef Hofmann. While living in New York, Lee could be heard performing in many of the city’s most well-known jazz venues, gaining notoriety as the house pianist at ‘Sweet Basil’s’ in Greenwich Village, at ‘Hanratty’s’, alongside Warren Vache at ‘Bechet’s’ and above the din of ‘Rick’s Café’. Concerts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art brought him to the attention of Lila Acheson Wallace, the Reader’s Digest founder and art patron, who arranged for him to give his first series of improvised solo piano performances. Following his success in New York, Lee took up residence in London, and became a fixture of the city’s jazz scene, appearing regularly in ensemble with Peter Ind at ‘The Bass Clef’, and as a soloist at ‘Pizza on the Park’, ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Café Pelican’, and ‘The 606 Club’. He was also a sought-after session player in London studios and worked as a composer and arranger in partnership with lyricist Michael Hazlewood. Most notably on a musical theatre version of Mervin Peake’s novel ‘Mr. Pye’, that was subsequently filmed for BBC television. His most recent recorded release features an innovative collaboration with saxophonist Mikolaj Trzaska, bassist Mark Tokar and drummer Rick Hollander, live in a concert of entirely improvised music. Lee continues to win accolades as a pianist, composer and arranger, and has established himself as one of the leading exponents of the art of solo piano improvisation.
“Sheer acrobatics at the keyboard.” Süddeutsches Zeitung
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