Sunjae Lee was born in Boston, MA and began his music studies at Rivers Music School from an early age on piano, violin, and saxophone, and later attended the New England Conservatory Preparatory program before going to University of Rochester to major in Chemistry while continuing his music studies at the nearby Eastman School of Music. After moving back to Boston, he released 3 albums as a leader between 2007-2009 under the independent Pure Potentiality Records Label while working as a chemical engineer.
Deciding to pursue a career in Natural Medicine, he moved to Portland, OR to get a doctorate in Naturopathy and Oriental Medicine, during which time he led a jazz trio, Kin Trio with Tim DuRoche and Andre St. James for 4 years, and ultimately released the album “Breathe” on PJCE records and performed in the PDX jazz festival.
In 2014 he moved to Seoul, Korea to practice Naturopathy, and in 2016 won Grand Prize and Best Creativity Prize in the Jarasum Int’l Jazz Festival Concours Competition with his trio with Junyoung Song on Drums and Minki Cho on Bass (and later adding Chris Varga on vibraphone). Continuing to stay musically active while maintaining a full time job as a Naturopath, his latest CD, “Entropy”, was released in 2019 with celebrated trumpeter Peter Evans, an old friend from Sunjae’s days back in Boston.
He is a member of many different groups in the Korean jazz scene including Soojin Suh’s “Chordless Quartet”, and has been featured on the Korean TV show EBS Space multiple times in 2017 and 2018 in bands led by Junyoung Song, Jimin Lee, and Eunyoung Kim. In 2019 his quartet was invited to Warsaw, Poland, to take part in a concert celebrating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Poland and Korea.
In 2020, Sunjae founded Mung Music, an independent record label dedicated to showcasing improvised, experimental music recorded using a vintage Tascam 424 cassette tape recorder.
2007: Sunjae Lee- Srivbanacore
2008: Sunjae Lee- Meditations
2009: Sunjae Lee- Equilibrium
2012: Noah Bernstein- Six
2013: Kin Trio- Breathe
2019: Sunjae Lee- Entropy
2019: Minki Cho- Invisible
2020: Sunjae Lee- Channel
Sunjae Lee Quartet: Seoul, Korea based trio with Chris Varga (vibraphone), Junyoung Song (drums) and Minki Cho (bass)
Winner of the 2016 Jarasum International Concours Jazz Competition: Grand Prize and Best Creativity