Ryan J. Lee is vibrant, fresh and unique. Known primarily as a drummer, Ryan recently founded the eclectic group, Mezzo String. Ryan attended the University of Missouri Kansas City studying jazz performance under saxophonist Bobby Watson. During his studies, he joined the award-winning group Diverse, which placed first at the 2008 Gene Harris Jazz competition. Diverse signed to Origin Records and began touring. Ryan was a participant in the 2014 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program under the direction of pianist Jason Moran. During his residency, he studied with world-renowned drummer Nate Smith.
Ryan has shared the stage with artists such as José James, Logan Richardson, A Bu, Hermon Mehari, Gerald Clayton and many more in performances across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He recently received the 2017 Alaadeen Achievement of Excellence Award for his work as a performing artist. Ryan prefers not to be bound to an instrument or genre. To him, music is the message of a more positive and progressive humanity. If the instrument or style helps in conveying his ideal through music, then he’s down for the cause.