Tee graduated from The High School of Music & Art in New York City and attended the Manhattan School of Music. Though better known as a studio and session musician, Tee led a jazz ensemble, the Richard Tee Committee, and was a founding member of the band Stuff. In 1981 he played the piano and Fender Rhodes for Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert In Central Park.
Tee played with a diverse range of artists during his career, such as Paul Simon, Carly Simon, The Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Peter Allen, George Harrison, Diana Ross, Duane Allman, Quincy Jones, Bill Withers, Art Garfunkel, Nina Simone, Juice Newton, Billy Joel, Etta James, Grover Washington, Jr., Eric Clapton, Kenny Loggins, Patti Austin, David Ruffin, Lou Rawls, Ron Carter, Peter Gabriel, George Benson, Joe Cocker, Chuck Mangione, Tim Finn, Peabo Bryson, Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, Phoebe Snow, Doc Severinson, Leo Sayer, Herbie Mann and countless others. He also contributed to numerous gold and platinum albums during his long career and joined the band Stuff led by bassist Gordon Edwards. Other members of the band included guitarist Cornell Dupree, drummer Chris Parker and later adding guitarist Eric Gale and drummer Steve Gadd to the line up.
After a 16-year relationship with Eleana Steinberg Tee of Greenwich, Connecticut, the couple was married in Woodstock, New York, by New York State Supreme Court Justice Bruce Wright. The couple moved to the Chelsea Hotel in 1988, and later to Cold Spring, New York.
Tee died of prostate cancer on July 21, 1993 in Cold Spring, New York at the age of 49. He is buried in the Artist Cemetery in Woodstock, New York.