An accomplished saxophonist in the nationally renowned Joliet Township H.S. Band, Teddy Lee began his professional music career by touring
the United States with several "name" Big Bands from the 1930's through the mid 1950's beginning with the Mel Marvin Band.
The next and most formative chapter for Lee came when he was asked to join the great Ray Pearl Band, which had for many years been a dancing
hit from coast to coast. Pearl found Lee to be instrumental to the future success of the band and asked him to arrange the music, direct the band
and of course blow his famous lead alto. Lee and Pearl were a formidable team, spending the next 10 years perfecting their craft and building the
band's extremely danceable style of music. Pearl, who at one point was courted by major movie studios, would ultimately end up publicly attacking
then powerful music union head Frank Petrillo. The feud over artist pay with the union stirred up controversy and ended Pearl's music career in
1956. Following the breakup of the Pearl Band,Teddy toured for one year with Wayne King, a musician Lee had always admired.
The History of the Teddy Lee Orchestra
The Teddy Lee Orchestra was organized in 1958, when the owners of the Melody Mill Ballroom in
Riverside, IL asked him to start his own band. On the spur of the moment, Lee put together a new version
of the old Ray Pearl Band; now under his own name (The Teddy Lee Orchestra), and using many Pearl
arrangements and several of his old Pearl bandstand colleagues. Promising only a two week
engagement, the popularity of the band was immediate, changing two weeks into two months. From 1958
to 1990, Teddy Lee led his wonderful orchestra as they performed at every major Chicago Big Band and
dance venue. The band became one of the biggest name orchestras in Chicagoland.
Teddy Lee Sr.
|Joliet Township H.S Band
Sax Section - 1938
In 1990 Teddy Lee Jr. accepted the baton from his father, Teddy Lee, insuring the continuation of the
orchestra's great tradition. Teddy Lee Jr.'s musical career began at age eight studying piano, then
clarinet and saxophone. By nineteen he was performing and teaching professionally. In 1995 he was
recognized and inducted into the illustrious "American Band Masters Association" which had as a
member John Philip Sousa. Under Teddy Lee Jr.'s baton the orchestra continues to provide wonderful
music, great dancing and great times. Tthe Teddy Lee Orchestra has a history of providing them all to
Chicago for 50 years.
The current Teddy Lee Orchestra at the Willowbrook Ballroom