Gary Lee - Guitarist, Music Production
I received both my B.A. (Commercial Guitar Performance/Music Business) and M.A. (Guitar Performance) from Azusa Pacific University. For the past 12 years I've worked as a professional guitarist and in music production. I've performed and worked behind the scenes with the top names in jazz, popular music, T.V., and film. I've also taught Music Theory courses at Azusa Pacific University.
2005 - 2011 | In 2005 worked as an intern for guitar great, Lee Ritenour, transcribing charts. The following year, I was hired by Lee to transcribe and prepare all the charts for his album, Smoke 'N Mirrors. Lee then hired me as his production manager in 2007. At age 22 I began a “sink-or-swim” crash-course in music business, album production, and concert production. Overnight, I was working alongside the greatest studio musicians in the world and responsible for managing and coordinating Lee's many projects:
One year later, in 2008, I was given more responsibility as Lee hired me to be his tour manager. I traveled with Lee and his band on international and domestic tours handling:
In 2010 Lee hired me to play guitar in his band on several concerts and master classes including the Catalina Jazz Festival and the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles.
2011 - 2013 | I left my position with Lee Ritenour and pursued my Master's degree in Guitar Performance at Azusa Pacific University. During this time I continued working as a freelance guitarist and in music production. In addition I taught 4 semesters of Music Theory at Azusa Pacific University as part of my work/study Master's program.
In 2012, I worked on the singing competition TV show, Duets (ABC) featuring: Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke, Jennifer Nettles, and John Legend. In 2013 I worked on the ABC show Sing Your Face Off. On both shows I was the Assistant Music Director, a guitarist, and also an orchestrator for the music department.
2014 - Present | After earning my Master's degree I've continued my freelance work as a guitarist, producer, and music copyist for recording artists and other music projects. Additionally, I teach guitar at California Baptist University in Riverside, CA and also am the Production Manager for Grammy-winning guitarist, Lee Ritenour. Below are some of the notable projects I've had the privilege to be involved with.
Bachelor of Arts | Azusa Pacific University
2002 - 2006 B.A. in Commercial Music (Guitar Performance, Music Business)
Master of Arts | Azusa Pacific University
2011 - 2013 M.A. in Guitar Performance
“Gary Lee is a multifaceted musician/guitarist that is the embodiment of the modern musician today. Not only extremely talented and versatile on acoustic and electric guitars, his production, arranging, coordinating, music editing, transcribing and music tech chops are evenly distributed from this outstanding musician."
(Grammy award-winning guitarist and producer)
Music performance, musicianship, and education.
Pre-production and post-production sides of music creation.
Logistical, clerical, and organizational side of pre-production.
Little Big Shots (NBC)
Performed guitar with featured 9 year old drummer, Milana, and legendary drummer, Sheila E.
The Voice T.V. Show (NBC)
Performed guitar with the popular pop-country duo, Florida Georgia Line.
Sing Your Face Off (ABC)
Assistant Music Director, Guitarist, Orchestrator
Coordinated all aspects of the music department including rehearsals, equipment, rehearsal recordings, lyric sheets, music edits, scheduling, song clearances and providing music related materials to other departments. Additionally I was an orchestrator, did takedowns, and filled in as a sub-guitarist as needed.
Associate Music Director, Guitarist, Orchestrator
Coordinated all aspects of the music department including rehearsals, equipment, rehearsal recordings, lyric sheets, music edits, scheduling, song clearances and providing all music related materials to other departments. Additionally I was an orchestrator, did takedowns, and performed as a guitarist in the house band.
For Better or For Worse (TLC)
Featured on-camera classical guitarist for TLC's show, For Better OR For Worse.
We're Not Friends (Web Series)
Composer for all 8 episodes of We're Not Friends. Composed, recorded, and produced all music cues. Composed and produced theme song music and trailer music.
Death of a Nation
Extracted and prepared parts from score for the political documentary, Death of a Nation, produced by Dinesh D’Souza. Musical score composed by Dennis McCarthy.
Goosebumps (the movie)
Proofread parts and scores for Goosebumps the movie starring Jack Black. Original score by Danny Elfman.
Fútbol is Epic
Extracted and prepared parts from score for the soccer inspired film, Fútbol is Epic. Produced by Immediate Music. Musical Composed by Yoav Goren.
Transcribed and prepared all musical examples for legendary drummer and percussionist, Alex Acuña’s educational DVD, The Rhythm Collector. Produced by DrummerWorld.
Projects I've produced or co-produced.
Musician's Creativity Lab (Yamaha Music Foundation)
Co-produced 12 video lessons about the life and style of jazz guitar great, Lee Ritenour for the online platform, Musician's Creativity Lab in association with Yamaha Music Foundation.
Acoustic Guitar Rhythm Strumming Course
Produced an original instructional video course called Acoustic Guitar Rhythm Strumming. This course focuses on becoming a stronger more confident guitarist through the study of rhythm guitar strumming.
The Six String Theory International Guitar Competition
Co-Producer, Judging Panel
Co-produced the first year of the Six String Theory Competition in 2010. Since then I've worked closely with Lee Ritenour throughout the judging process including being on the judging board.
Escapte Plan (Jen Oikawa Trio)
Co-produced the album and helped raise $5,000+ to fund the project.
Touring & Concert Production
Ethan Bortnick (featuring Damian McGinty)
Guitarist, Bass Guitarist
John Beasley's Monk'estra
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz
Lee Ritenour - U.S. and International Tours
(Hollywood Bowl, Catalina Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center, Blue Note Japan Tour Indonesia Java Jazz Festival)
As Margens dos Mares
Music Production, Music Copyist
Produced all sheet music for 17 artists for the art and music festival in Sao Paulo Brazil. Produced by Carmen Ritenour and the Sociedade Cultural Arte Brasil.
Home Alone In Concert
Score Prep for Conductor John Beal
Live orchestra to film concert. Score preparation for conductor/composer, John Beal
Genre: Music - Chapter 2 (Melvin Lee Davis)
Limitless (Giloh Morgan)
The Book of John (Tommy Walker)
As Long as Love Will Last (Andrea Hammond)
The Jen Oikawa Trio
Teryn Ré Big Band
Twist of Rit (Lee Ritenour)
Monk 'estra vol. 1 (John Beasley)
Rhythm Sessions (Lee Ritenour)
The Acoustic Album (Gary Lee)
Recording Artist, Producer, Guitarist
Kindred Spirits (Melvin Lee Davis)
Genre: Music (Melvin Lee Davis) - Guitar
Lee Ritenour's 6 String Theory
Production Manager, Music Copyist, Assist. Recording Engineer
Production Manager, Recording Engineer, Music Copyist
Act Your Age (Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band)
Recording Engineer, Production Coordinator
Amparo (Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, James Taylor, Renee Fleming)
Music Copyist, Production Manager
Smoke 'N Mirrors (Lee Ritenour)
Music Copyist, Assist. Recording Engineer
Guitar Side-Man Reel
Ethan Presents PBS Special
Bass Guitarist, Guitarist
We're Not Friends - Trailer Music
Little Big Shots TV Show
We're Not Friends - Music Cue
Guaraná (by Gary Lee)
Skyline (by Gary Lee)
Ferris Wheel (by Gary Lee)
Five Four You (by Gary Lee)
A Felicidade (arr. by Gary Lee)
Water's Edge (arr. by Gary Lee)
Emily (arr. by Gary Lee)
Waltz for Debby (arr. by Gary Lee)
Be Thou My Vision (arr. by Gary Lee)
Man of La Mancha (w/Davis Gaines)
click on SoundCloud logo to hear all tracks
Pop Covers (Teryn Ré)
Hejira (Melvin Davis feat. Lia Booth)
"Glory" Live Performance (by Gary Lee)
Cemetery Charm (Neighbor Goliath)
Mighty Wind (Giloh Morgan feat. Lena Bryd Miles)
Jazz & Blues Demo Reel
Brazilian Demo Reel
Acoustic Demo Reel
Classical Demo Reel
Grammy-Nominated Pianist, Composer, Producer, & Music Director (Monk'estra, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, James Brown, Steely Dan, Lee Ritenour)
Gary Lee is a formidable and multi-talented musician. I've worked with him as a first rate guitarist on sessions and TV shows, as a personal aid, and as an Associate Music Director in numerous productions. When I need something extraordinary done, I know Gary will find the best way to execute a solution.
Grammy award winning Jazz Guitarist/Recording Artist
“Gary Lee is a multifaceted musician/guitarist that is the embodiment of the modern musician today. Not only extremely talented and versatile on acoustic and electric guitars, his production, arranging, coordinating, music editing, transcribing and music tech chops are evenly distributed from this outstanding musician. Gary has worked and collaborated with me for years in all those capacities and then some!
Drummer (Andy Grammer, Gwen Stefani, Cody Simpson)
“I’m a drummer, and I think I have good time and feel, but Gary has always amazed me by his musicality and his feel and concept of what good time keeping is. Gary has better time than most drummers/musicians I know.”
Melvin Lee Davis
Bassist (Chaka Khan, Lee Ritenour, Robben Ford, George Duke)
“Gary's acoustic guitar technique…well, what can I say! His execution of melody, harmony and rhythm has that spiritual connection to the soul. I have had the pleasure of working with him on Lee Ritenour & Chaka Khan projects, as well my own recording endeavors. He also has given me the pleasure of recording for him on various projects that he has worked on as well. “I hold these truths to be self evident” to quote a great scholar! That Gary Lee is special in every way. The way he plays his guitar speaks to the way he lives his life….with honesty and integrity! The positive energy flows my friend.”
Guitarist (Huey Lewis and the News, Madonna, Herbie Hancock)
“I first met Gary working on the TV show “Duets” where we got to share guitar parts playing behind Jennifer Nettles, Robin Thicke, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend. This lead to giving, not really lessons to Gary but more a trading of ideas. Playing and talking about music and sharing my experiences with him. He is a terrific player and guy. Can play all the styles and writes and records his own wonderful compositions.”
TV/Film Actress (Spy Kids, Camp WWE, Broad City, Scandal)
“Gary has been composing our TV series this year and we couldn’t be more impressed by his work, his immediate understanding of what we were thinking (even when we couldn’t put it to words), and his incredible professionalism. He rises to the occasion and truly works to deliver outstanding work. I am so impressed by the way he approaches and attacks deadlines, his ear for composition, and his quick and speedy delivery. He is also just an amazingly kind person to work with. If you are looking for the best of the best in the music industry, this is your guy. Thank you Gary, for everything, we are so lucky to work with you!”
Drummer (The Yellow Jackets)
“Our wonderful, crazy world of music is a team sport and it’s a good idea to surround yourself with smart, capable people who are confident in the business of song willing to sacrifice, guide, and encourage through the ups & downs. I’m happy to have had Mr. Gary Lee on my team and proud to have experienced several victories with him.”
Drummer (Eric Hutchinson, Tommy Walker, The Walking Dead AMC)
“Gary Lee is incredible! Whether he is sitting in the producer chair, arranger chair or the guitar chair, he makes you feel confident. His ability to blend professionalism, high-level musicianship and camaraderie is brilliant. I love working with Gary because you know you are going to get is full attention and heart on every project. His guitar skills match anyone in the industry, but it’s who Gary is that makes him irreplaceable on any session.”
Bassist/Blogger (Startup Musician)
“Gary Lee is a great musician and hands down the best acoustic guitar player I know. He brings a delicate touch to the instrument and makes it sing! Also, he’s a pretty great individual to work with. Don’t be dumb, you should hire Gary.”
Audio Engineer (Cirque du Soleil, Mylie Cyrus, Saturday Night Live)
“I have had the pleasure of working with Gary Lee on a few different projects. As a producer, he understands the multi-dimensional aspects of music production. He approaches projects with a wealth of musical knowledge, and a firm understanding of the technical needs”
Jazz Vocalist, Composer (Teryn Ré Big Band)
“Gary Lee is one of the most prolific guitarists I know and have the privilege of working with. His ability to interpret my music and his sensitivity to what is happening in the moment is unparalleled! He continues to impress with not only his multi-faceted playing, but also with his songwriting. As a vocalist it is rare to find such a musician that is selfless, humble and a joy to work with on a regular basis.”
Vocalist, Songwriter, Recording Artist
“Gary speaks to and enhances the life of a song with his unique rhythmic disposition, tone, and innate naturalness of line and feel. He’s intricate and exact while his inherent musical choices have a natural, in the moment drive while encompassing a live producers perspective. I’ve had the privilege of sharing the studio and the stage with him and hope to for years to come.”
Guitarist (JJ Lin, Kylan Road)
“Gary Lee is my personal favorite solo acoustic guitar player. His technique and timbre are near perfect, but those elements do not define his music. Gary reaches deep inside his person producing soulful, heartfelt and honest music.”
Drummer, Percussionist, Educator
“Gary is a versatile guitarist who takes each piece of music he plays seriously. That attention to detail helps him work in so many situations. I believe that his own teaching has contributed to his unique abilities as a performer.”
Vocalist (Barbra Streisand, Glee, Amy Grant)
“I hired Gary for a gig that I would have been lost without his mad skills!! He was able to chart the music for everyone (30 songs I believe) with not a lot of time to do so, which was a step I was not able to do on my own!! Not only that, he was professional, on time, sounded amazing, and was nice, which was very important!! Especially in this business. I can’t wait to work with him again!!!”
Producer of Musician’s Creativity Lab (Yamaha Music Foundation)
"Gary is a tremendous guy to work with. He always goes above and beyond and gives more than what is expected. His preparation is detailed which helps us a lot with production. We will definitely ask to work with him again for future projects!"
Associate Professor, Director of Guitar Studies at Azusa Pacific University
Gary Lee is one of the most astonishing guitarist/musicians on the music scene today. His rock solid technique and poise in public performance rivals that of any touring guitarist. Gary is, however, far more than just a player. His skill sets in music technology allow him to compose, arrange, transcribe, produce and edit music on a world class level. He is also an excellent teacher with a logical methodic approach that one finds only in the best pedagogy available for the guitar. It would be difficult to put Gary Lee in a musical situation where he would not excel. He has my most enthusiastic endorsement as a guitarist and musician.
Recording Artist, Songwriter
Gary Lee is one of the most professional musicians I have ever worked with. I have been performing professionally now for a decade and have never met someone who has set the bar like Gary has. Without asking, he put together charts for my entire new set list the week before the album release when I was super busy. He was more than happy to assist the other musicians with any questions they had and ensured I felt comfortable before the show started. Highly recommend working with him and eager to work with him again soon! He is as good as they come.
An overview of the artists, musicians, companies, and organizations I've had the privilege of working with.
Companies & Education