Crissy Lee is widely acclaimed as being the UKs and Europes finest female drummer. Born in Colchester, Essex her career began at the age of four when her father brought home a pair of drumsticks for her. Her unique, intuitive talent was instantly recognised as she began to play drum rudiments and rhythms far more complicated than those her father could show her. This was to be the beginning of a career that has seen Crissy travel the globe, appearing on numerous TV programmes and bringing the rich rewards of sharing the stage with some of the world’s greatest celebrities.
At the age of five, Crissy was playing for the Colchester Salvation Army Band followed by the Essex & Suffolk Army Massed Bands. She was already being asked to join the local Youth Orchestras. When she was 13 years old, Crissy made her debut TV appearance on the talent show Carroll Levis Discoveries. Soon after this she auditioned and gained a place in the Lena Kidd Seven – an excellent swing jazz band which toured the US bases in Britain and Europe.
At 17, Crissy joined The Ivy Benson Dance Band and travelled the world appearing with artistes including Dinah Washington, Frank Sinatra Jnr., Fats Domino, Caterina Valenti and Tom Jones. She then left to form her first band – THE BEAT CHICS. Apart from working with people like Lulu and Eartha Kitt, they managed to secure the support slot on THE BEATLES first Spanish tour. It was a memorable experience appearing with the world’s most popular group. During this exciting time Crissy and The Beat Chics achieved great exposure after releasing their first EP which hit the top of the charts in Spain, Italy and Brazil and most of the other Latin American countries and Skinny Mini reached the Billboard 100 chart in America.
In the late 1960s, Crissy joined the Mike Holly Big Band whilst working on her next project which was THE CHRISTINE LEE SET – a 7 piece band greatly influenced by the group Blood, Sweat & Tears. The band completed a vast amount of hotel work both here and abroad. They were the resident band at The Sheraton in Cairo and had a weekly spot on Egyptian TV. After playing many other venues throughout Europe and the Middle East, they were invited to open The Top of the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Crissy later augmented this band to a 12 piece, known as THE CHRISTY LEE BAND, for a contract with Mecca International. She became the first female bandleader working for the Mecca organisation and was resident at many ballrooms throughout the country including the famous Lyceum in London.
Crissy’s many TV appearances at this time included working alongside such artistes as Al Jarreau, Faith Brown, Marion Montgomery and Madeline Bell and she became Musical Director for the late Roy Castle, Ken Dodd and Bob Monkhouse.
Other musical projects followed Poverty Street – a 7 piece comedy showband, Firefly – a 5 piece original rock band, Beauty & the Beat – a 7 piece soul/funk/pop band primarily formed as a professional backing band for the US soul acts The Supremes, Johnny Bristol and Sam Dees.
Crissy was drawn back to her roots in jazz and swing music when she formed probably the best, most powerful and exciting band in her career – THE CRISSY LEE BIG BAND – a 17 piece all female band. Many TV appearances followed including a finale slot on the Barrymore programme. Performances at well-respected festivals like the Cork Jazz Festival has firmly established this outfit as one to be reckoned with!