Raised on the west coast islands of Canada, John Lee has been playing music since the age of five. By the time Lee completed his high school studies, he had received a remarkable amount of attention by professional musicians in Canada and earned an impressive collection of awards, scholarships, and honors from jazz festivals such as Envision Jazz Festival, MusicFest Canada and Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. With the support of the Slaight Family Scholarship, Lee continued his studies at the Berklee College of Music where he pursued a Bachelor of Music in Performance. In addition to his academic training, Lee has studied with prestigious jazz educators David Santoro, Neal Smith, Greg Osby, Ralph Peterson Jr., Yoron Israel and Bob Gullotti.
Musically, John Lee is known for his incredible proficiency as a multi-instrumentalist as well as his ability to connect the audience to his music and live charisma. Lee performs regularly in colleges, universities, clubs and concert halls and also leads several of his own groups usually specified in the styling of hard-bop jazz. Lee has done an extensive amount of performing in cities located in North America including New York City (Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, SOMETHIN’ Jazz Club), Boston (Wally’s Jazz Café, The Beehive), and Washington (Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Hamilton Live).
John Lee performs regularly with recognized young contemporary jazz artists in addition to having shared the stage with international jazz artists such as Cyrus Chestnut, Terell Stafford, Ingrid Jensen, Christine Jensen, Phil Dwyer and Joel Miller.
Besides performing, John Lee is a dedicated educator who strongly believes in the importance of education in music. He has founded and directed his own jazz programs, including an annual five-week summer jazz program Next Generation Quintet located on Vancouver Island. After years of performing and studying in Boston, Lee relocated back to his hometown of Nanaimo, BC to establish an educating practice and career.
As an artist, John Lee is currently in pre-production and development of his debut album featuring a complete set of original compositions and arrangements.
John Lee uses Grestch drums, Zildjian cymbals, Remo drumheads, and Vater sticks and brushes.