Will Lee: Huffington Post / Tom Semioli- Eleven Bass Players Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame https://bit.ly/38WUMh2
As the work of late night talk show host David Letterman is now written into media history, we cite the immeasurable contribution to American culture and the arts by Dave’s unwavering musical stalwarts for his entire thirty-three year career on late night television: bandleader Paul Shaffer and bassist Will Lee.
Assuming the mantle created by Doc Severinsen’s legendary NBC Orchestra as heard on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson – Paul and Will’s groundbreaking tenure in the World’s Most Dangerous Band (with guitarists Hiram Bullock and Sid McGinnis, drummers Anton Fig and Steve Jordan) and later, The CBS Orchestra (with additional members Felicia Collins, Bones Malone, and Frank Greene among others) brought the language of rock, blues, soul, folk, country, jazz fusion, and funk to the great American Songbook.
I’ve witnessed Will on scores of club dates since the 80s. Not only is he the consummate sideman – his stage demeanor and boundless enthusiasm – regardless of how many people are in the venue is a declaration of the reverence he has for his audience, his craft, and the music.
Will’s formal music education commenced at the University of Miami (his dad would later become Dean of the School of Music) wherein he switched from French horn to electric bass. Inspired by The Beatles, Motown, Will quickly developed a reputation as a first call session player in New York City during its studio golden era of the 1970s / 80s. He toured and/ or waxed sides with artists spanning B.J.Thomas, Horace Silver, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, The Brecker Brothers, Herbie Mann, David Sanborn, Boz Scaggs Diane Schuur, Herbie Hancock, Lyle Lovett, Oz Noy, Tom Scott, Neil Sedaka, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, Phoebe Snow, Ronnie Spector, The Spinners, Spyro Gyra, Ringo Starr, Steely Dan, Cat Stevens and Barbra Streisand to cite a very, very select few.
In addition to his matchless work as a sideman (and vocalist), Will also waxes sides under his own name and you can catch him on the bandstand with The Blue Birds of Paradise and The Fab Faux.
Will Lee Sound & Vision…
Letterman Jam segment “Dance to the Music” https://youtu.be/NhjBDiMckwU
Keith Emerson with The World’s Most Dangerous Band https://youtu.be/mqC-Ne88gWA
Brecker Bros. “If You Want to Boogie” https://youtu.be/m0kZg5oV1mg
24th Street Band “Pocket Change” https://youtu.be/6sJioYef510
Will solo “Fooled Him” https://youtu.be/zSXwLv0vt3Q