Robert Lee is an emerging upright bassist, composer, and bandleader in the Toronto jazz scene. His musical interest started with the violin before switching to the bass. He is a graduate from the University of Guelph Bachelor of Music as well as Humber College in Jazz Performance. During this time, he has had the opportunity to study with Neil Swainson, Ted Quinlan, Mike Downes, Geoff Young, Lorne Lofsky, Kieran Overs, Andy Ballantyne, Gord Sheard, Pat LaBarbera, Kirk MacDonald, Andrew Scott, Kevin Turcotte, Amanda Tosoff, Andrew McAnsh, Nick Mancini (Los Angeles), and others.
He has performed at various venues and festivals across Ontario, including the Toronto Undergraduate Jazz Festival, the Guelph Jazz Festival, the Newmarket Music Festival, the Kensington Market Jazz Festival, Toronto Fringe Festival, and MusicFest Canada.
He has been recognized for his compositional and arranging work, earning the Humber College Duke Ellington Society Scholarship in 2017 and 2018 as well as the James Appel School Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship in 2018. In 2018 he had the opportunity to work with the Artist-in-Residence at Humber College Pat Metheny, arranging the composition "Then and Now" for the Humber Studio Band and performing with the Ted Quinlan Pat Metheny Tribute Ensemble for the Artist-in-Residence Showcase concert. He has also been commissioned by the York Region Chamber Music Society to compose an original piece for the Hogtown Brass Quintet, entitled “Castle in the Sky” which premiered at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts in 2019.
Robert in 2017 participated in the Spectrum Music New Voices Composers Residency. He attended the Keep an Eye Summer Jazz Workshop at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 2018, studying under the likes of John Riley, Jay Anderson, Jesse Van Ruller, Frans van der Hoeven, and Dick Oats. He has also been featured on Jazzology with Heather Bambrick on JazzFm91 in 2018.
JazzFM91 Feature: https://jazz.fm/robert-lee-emerging-jazz-artist-finding-creative-voice/
Photographs by Jacob Sherf and Cynthia Fay