John Lester

Funk / Jazz / Blues

John is an award winning songwriter who has, throughout his career, had one foot in the rock/acoustic music scene and the other in jazz. As a songwriter, John was awarded the “Song of the Year Award” from the West Coast Songwriter’s Association on two occasions (for The Ways of a Woman and Both a Blessing and a Curse). The title track from his 2007 release, So Many Reasons, was also the winner of the WCS International Songwriting Award for “Best Jazz Song” and he also won their “Best Humorous Song Award” for his tongue-in-cheek ditty, Beware La Merde, about a bit of advice to tourists in Paris. “John doesn’t just have a great voice, he is a voice! Great songs that really communicate.” - Russ Jennings, KPFA As a solo performer, John has created a unique show featuring his 100-year-old upright bass named Sarah (after Sarah Vaughan, for her lovely vocal-like quality). He also plays acoustic and electric bass guitars, as well as baritone steel string guitar, nylon string guitar, and ukulele, at times utilizing a loop recorder to create live tracks for his songs and improvisations. “Lester’s USP is his supreme mastery of all possible varieties of basses and his use of them as lead instruments…his understated virtuosity demands attention!” - Maverick Magazine John has released five albums to date: “Live at the Freight and Salvage” in 1999, “Big Dreams and the Bottom Line” in 2003, and “So Many Reasons” in 2007, "Jazz?" in 2013, and "Live" earlier this year. John’s 2012 release, “Jazz?”, set ten modern rock cover songs into a late 1950’s jazz context and brought together John’s love for both great contemporary songwriting and the open improvisation of a jazz quartet. Released on October 2, 2012, the album steadily climbed the JazzWeek charts, entering the Top 100 in November 2012 and reaching #80 in January 2013. It also reached #13 on the Roots Music Report jazz chart. “His takes on rock and pop standards with great jazz sensibility and penchant for swing, makes this a wonderful and fresh approach in the canon of improvised music." - Jim Bennet, KCSM John recently release a live album with his European touring partner Paul Tiernan. John and Paul have been touring together since meeting at the Rochefortes En Accords Festival on the Atlantic coast of France in 2005. After ten years of touring a live recording was finally captured on their 2014 US West Coast Tour. The album features 7 songs by each artist and was released in January 2015. “The interaction that goes on between them, both overtly and covertly, is something that’s subtle and sensational, voices and instruments intertwining and blending to weave songs of influence and poise”. - FolkWords John will be launching his new all bass and drums looping project, Bass Bureaucracy, in spring of 2016. The first single entitle "I Can`t Go to Havana Tonight" features John on upright bass and 4, 5, & 6 string bass guitars with guest percussionist Paulo Baldi (Cake, Otmar Leibert, Les Claypool`s Frog Brigade. Later in fall of 2016, John will be releasing his sixth album. The album will feature 10 original tunes in an acoustic format with John on vocals, bass, guitar, and ukulele with Paul Tiernan on guitar and Tim Bulkley on drums. The album will launch with a European Tour in November with US dates to follow.