Richard Tee

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Richard Edward Tee
Tee in 1990
Tee in 1990
Background information
Birth nameRichard Edward Ten Ryk
Born(1943-11-24)November 24, 1943
New York City, U.S.
DiedJuly 21, 1993(1993-07-21) (aged 49)
New York City, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer-songwriter
  • Keyboards
  • vocals
Years active1967–1993
LabelsWarner Bros. Records

Richard Edward Tee (born Richard Edward Ten Ryk; November 24, 1943 – July 21, 1993) was an American jazz fusion pianist, studio musician, singer and arranger,[1] who had several hundred studio credits and played on such notable hits as "The Hustle"(1975), "Slip Slidin' Away"(1977), "Just the Two of Us"(1981), "I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Today)"(1967), "Tell Her About It"(1983), "In Your Eyes", "Until You Come Back To Me"(1974)[2]


Tee was born in Brooklyn, New York[1] to Edward James Ten Ryk (1886–1963), who was from Guyana, and Helen G. Ford Skeete Ten Ryk (1902–2000), of New York. Tee spent most of his life in Brooklyn and lived with his mother in a brownstone apartment building.

Tee graduated from The High School of Music & Art in New York City and attended the Manhattan School of Music.[3] Though better known as a studio and session musician,[4] Tee led a jazz ensemble, the Richard Tee Committee, and was a founding member of the band Stuff.[1] In 1981, he played the piano and Fender Rhodes for Simon and Garfunkel's Concert in Central Park.[1]

Tee played with a diverse range of artists during his career, including Paul Simon, Carly Simon, The Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Diane Schuur, Donny Hathaway, Peter Allen, George Harrison, Diana Ross, Duane Allman, Quincy Jones, Bill Withers, Art Garfunkel, Nina Simone, Juice Newton, Billy Joel, Etta James, Grover Washington Jr., Eric Clapton, Kenny Loggins, Patti Austin, David Ruffin, Lou Rawls, Ron Carter, Peter Gabriel, George Benson, Joe Cocker, Chuck Mangione, Peabo Bryson, Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, Phoebe Snow, Leo Sayer, Herbie Mann, Pino Daniel, Tim Finn, and countless others.[1] He also contributed to numerous gold and platinum albums during his long career and joined Stuff led by bassist Gordon Edwards. Other members of the band included guitarist Cornell Dupree, drummer Chris Parker, and later guitarist Eric Gale and drummer Steve Gadd.[5]


Tee was the arranger on the O'Jays 1968 single, "I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow" bw "I Dig Your Act" that was released on Bell 691.[6]

Along with Hugh McCracken, Eric Gale, and Steve Gadd, Tee played on Van McCoy's 1976 album, The Real McCoy. The album received a good review with the picks being "Love at First Sight", "Night Walk", "Theme from Star Trek", and "African Symphony".[7]

In June 1980, the band Stuff, made up of Tee, Gordon Edwards, Cornell Dupree, Eric Gale, and Steve Gadd, performed at the Berkeley Jazz Festival which was held over a four day period.[8] On the week ending July 12, 1980, Tee's album Natural Ingredients entered the Cash Box Jazz Top 40 Albums chart at no. 31.[9] At week three on July 26, it got to no. 20.[10] It held that position for another week.[11][12] It spent a total of nine weeks in the chart.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

After a 16-year relationship with Eleana Steinberg Tee of Greenwich, Connecticut, the couple were married in Woodstock, New York, by New York State Supreme Court Justice Bruce Wright. The couple moved to the Chelsea Hotel in 1988, and later to Cold Spring, New York.[3]

Illness and death[edit]

In 1993, Tee had begun extensive treatment for his prostate cancer following his diagnosis during his tour with Paul Simon's Rhythm of the Saints tour. A special tribute event was set up for him and was to take place on June 6, 1993 at Club Tatou located on 233 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. Those set to attend included Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, and Chevy Chase. Proceeds from the event were to go to Humantics Foundation for Richard Tee.[15]

Tee died on July 21, 1993, in Calvary Hospital (Bronx) aged 49, after suffering from prostate cancer.[3] He is buried in the Artist Cemetery in Woodstock, New York. Tee's grave is marked by the outline of a grand piano (as viewed from above) made from stainless steel, with a black granite plaque in a keyboard design on top. Tee's nickname of "Stuffy" is engraved on the memorial plaque, together with his name and dates.[16]


Tee used a diverse range of keyboards during his recording and touring career, notably the Hammond organ, piano, Hohner clavinet and synthesizers. His trademark sound, however, was his unique method of playing a Fender Rhodes electric piano and feeding the signal through an Electro-Harmonix Small Stone effect pedal phase shifter.


As leader[edit]

  • Strokin' (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1979)
  • Natural Ingredients (Tappan Zee, 1980)
  • The Bottom Line (Electric Bird, 1985)
  • Inside You (Epic/Sony, 1989)
  • Real Time (One Voice, 1992)
  • The Right Stuff (P-Vine, 1993)
  • Real Time Live in Concert 1992 (Videoarts, 2012)

As guest[edit]

With George Benson

With Hank Crawford

With Cornell Dupree

  • Teasin' (1974)
  • Coast to Coast (1988)
  • Can't Get Through (1991)
  • Child's Play (1992)
  • Uncle Funky (1992)

With Steve Gadd

  • Gadd About (1984)
  • The Gadd Gang (1986)
  • Here & Now (1988)
  • Live at the Bottom Line (1988)
  • Gadd Gang (1991)

With Stuff

  • Stuff (1976)
  • More Stuff (1977)
  • Stuff It (1978)
  • Live Stuff (1978)
  • Live in New York (1980)
  • East (1981)
  • Best Stuff (1981)
  • Stuff Live in Montreux (2008)

With Grover Washington Jr.

With others


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 1166/7. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ Until You Come・・ Retrieved 9 April 2024
  3. ^ a b c "Richard Tee, 49, Dies; Composer and Pianist". The New York Times. July 26, 1993.
  4. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Richard Tee Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  5. ^ "Richard Tee Profile". Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  6. ^ Cash Box, January 20, 1968 - Page 38 Vital Statistics, DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT TITLES ON THE CASH BOX TOP 100 THIS WEEK
  7. ^ Billboard, April 24, 1976 - Page 54 Billboard's Top Album Picks, Pop
  8. ^ Cash Box, June 7, 1980 - Page 8 STUFF AND COREA CONVERGE ON BERKELEY JAZZ
  9. ^ Cash Box, July 12, 1980 - Page 15 JAZZ TOP 40 ALBUMS
  10. ^ Cash Box, July 26, 1980 - Page 17 JAZZ TOP 40 ALBUMS
  11. ^ Cash Box, August 2, 1980 - Page 17 JAZZ TOP 40 ALBUMS
  12. ^ Cash Box, August 9, 1980 - Page 11 JAZZ TOP 40 ALBUMS
  13. ^ Cash Box, September 6, 1980 - Page 34 JAZZ TOP 40 ALBUMS
  14. ^ Cash Box, September 13, 1980 - Page 17 JAZZ TOP 40 ALBUMS
  15. ^ Cash Box, May 22, 1993 - Page 4 News JUNE 6 SET FOR TEE TRIB:
  16. ^ "Woodstock Artists Cemetery". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved March 19, 2024.

External links[edit]