Bill Lee has died at the age of 94.
The jazz musician passed away on Wednesday (24.05.23) at his home in Brooklyn, New York and his death was announced by his film director son Spike Lee in a post on social media.
The ‘Malcolm X’ director captioned the Instagram post: “This Morning May 24th My Father Made His Transition… Also Must Give Love To Our Sista TINA TURNER Who Left Us Today on This May 24th 2023. WHEW LAWD. What A Day.”
Bill composed scores for several of his son’s early movies, including ‘She’s Gotta Have It’, ‘School Daze’ and ‘Do The Right Thing’.
He was also a successful jazz musician in his own right and performed with legendary stars such as Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel and Aretha Franklin.
Born William James Edwards Lee III in Alabama in 1928, he was the son of two musicians and started to learn how to play instruments from a very early age.
He learned the bass while studying at Morehouse College in Atlanta and then sought out the jazz scenes in both New York and Chicago.
Bill famously accompanied Bob Dylan on his classic hit ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ from the 1965 album ‘Bringing It All Back Home’.
Spike Lee credited his father for teaching him all that he knows about music.
Speaking in 1990, the 66-year-old director said: “Everything I know about jazz I got from my father.
“I saw his integrity, how he was not going to play just any kind of music, no matter how much money he could make.”
Bill is survived by his wife Susan Kaplan, children Spike, David, Joie, Cinque, and Arnold, and two grandchildren.