Born: November 24, 1943 | Died: July 21, 1993 Primary Instrument: Keyboard
A highly regarded R&B and funk session keyboardist, who worked on hundreds of sessions by every major name, He led his own recordings and also worked with studio ensembles like Stuff and the Gadd Gang. A top rate session player, from the mid '60s through the early '90s, when you heard a new tune on the radio with a particularly soulful piano, Rhodes, or B-3 part, he probably played it. In the recording industry he was royalty, a first call musician sought out by top producers.
This gifted pianist, composer and arranger was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 24, 1943. He started playing piano at the age of seven, began performing in high school, and attended the Julliard School of Music.
In 1965, Tee became a Motown session musician and one of New York's busiest studio session musicians. Soon after, he became an accompanist for Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack.
Tee joined Encyclopedia of Soul in 1974. The group, which was led by Gordon Edwards, was comprised of many of Tee's fellow studio musicians. The band continued to develop and eventually, in 1976, became the highly regarded outfit known as Stuff. Meanwhile, Tee's reputation as master pianist kept him in demand in both the studio and on the live concert circuit. He has been credited as a sideman on over 400 album recordings with such music luminaries as Barbra Streisand, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Grover Washington Jr. and Peter Gabriel.
In 1983, Stuff disbanded and Tee quickly joined the Gadd Gang, led by Steve Gadd. The band was tremendously successful in Japan. Between 1979 and 1989, he also released four solo albums. They include: Strokin (1979), Natural Ingredients (1980), Bottom Line (1982) and Inside You (1989). He also spent a year on tour with Paul Simon in 1990.
Richard Tee passed away on July 21, 1993 in the Bronx at the age of 49. His fifth and final recording as leader, Real Time, showcases his immense talent and features a number of seasoned session players, including the late guitarist Eric Gale, longtime associate Steve Gadd on drums and Will Lee on bass, this is a fine album by a performer who had more influence on fellow musicians than most realize.
Source: James Nadal