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After showing great interest in music at a young age, Lee developed into a virtuoso by his late teens and by the time Lee completed his high school studies he had received a remarkable amount of recognition by prominent jazz musicians in Canada and earned an impressive array of awards, scholarships and honours from Envision Jazz Festival, MusicFest Canada and Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.
Through the recommendation of Ingrid Jensen (Terri Lyne Carrington), Maria Schneider (Orchestra) and Christian Fabian (Lionel Hampton Big Band, Jason Marsalis), Lee applied to the prestigious Berklee College of Music and received a full tuition and housing scholarship. Lee completed his undergraduate studies in May 2016 and received a Bachelor of Music in Performance.
In addition to his academic training in Boston, Lee was mentored by world-renowned jazz educators Dave Santoro, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ralph Peterson Jr., and John Clayton.
After relocating back to Canada and Victoria, Lee has become an in-demand musician for accompanying visiting artists and has had opportunities to perform with artists such as Buster Williams, Rudy Royston, George Colligan and Misha Piatigorsky.
As an artist, John Lee is widely known for his immense proficiency as a multi-instrumentalist as well as his ability to connect audience to his music with a charming and positive charisma. Lee has done an extensive amount of performing in cities in North America including New York City (Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, SOMETHIN’ Jazz Club), Boston (Wally’s Jazz Café, The Beehive), Washington (Kennedy Centre Millennium Stage, Hamilton Live), Toronto (The Rex), Edmonton (Yardbird Suite), Vancouver (Cellar Jazz Club, Frankie’s Jazz Club), and Victoria (Hermann’s Jazz Club). Lee has performed numerous times as a sideman and leader at international jazz festivals including TD Prince Edward County Jazz Festival, DC Jazz Festival and TD Victoria and Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
John Lee has shared the stage with international jazz artists such as Cyrus Chestnut, Larry Fuller, Seamus Blake, Terell Stafford, Ingrid Jensen, as well as prominent Canadian jazz artists and educators Phil Dwyer, Christine Jensen, Ryan Oliver, Brad Turner, Neil Swainson and David Restivo.
John Lee currently leads his own project called Next Generation Jazz Collective and his own trio while working with Cory Weeds (Cellar Live/Reel to Real label) as a hired sideman on many different projects and performances in the Vancouver scene. Lee is also in early concept development stages for his debut album which he is planning on releasing under the Cellar Live label.