Dr. Dee Spencer has recorded with former Tower of Power vocalist Lenny Williams and Aretha Franklin’s favorite drummer, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie—as well performing with such jazz legends as John Handy, Jimmy Scott, Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Regina Carter, and Jeff “Tain” Watts. Dee has also performed with R&B sensation and Grammy Award–winning vocalist Ledisi and the famed San Francisco Glide Memorial house band, Change. She has been a featured performer at the San Francisco, Beijing, Cork, Tasmanian, and Dresden Music Festivals. Her latest album, Tranquility, was released in August 2018, and her solo piano bar experience, Dee’s Keys, can be found in venues throughout San Francisco.
Dee’s credits as a musical director and sound designer include Androcles and the Lion, the award-winning TheatreWorks production of Raisin with legendary directors Danny Duncan and Tony Haney, Purlie Victorious, The Me Nobody Knows, No Place to Be Somebody, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Sassy Divas, One Mo’ Time, Twelfth Night, Spring Awakening, Lysistrata, Chicago, Hair, and Dreamgirls in Concert.
Dee Spencer is a professor of Jazz and Musical Theatre in the School of Theatre & Dance at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Her former students include recording artists and producers the Braxton Brothers; Beyonce’s music director, saxophonist Tia Fuller; and Lauren Hill’s music director, saxophonist Howard Wiley. Founder and former director of the Jazz Studies degree program in the SFSU School of Music, Dee earned her master’s degree in music from Washington University in St. Louis and her doctoral degree in education from the University of San Francisco. She is an annual screener for the Grammy Music Awards and also served as a judge, alongside Wynton Marsalis, for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition.
An active contributor to the San Francisco community, Dee founded the SFJAZZ education program and performed for US Senator Kamala Harris’ fundraiser at the African American Art & Culture Complex. She also served as program director for the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts.