Will Lee

Will Lee's Biography

It's after midnight, and the eerie-eerie sounds of Miles Davis' muted trumpet on the stereo drift into the bedroom of three-year-old Will Leeé

From that point on, music was in his blood. His father plays piano – "His Bebop chops are the best" according to Will – and has also played trumpet and bass violin professionally. Will's mother sang with big bands. Since his birth in San Antonio, Texas in 1952, his parents' talents led Will on a circuitous route from one instrument to another — torturous piano lessons, a short relationship with violin, demanding trumpet lessons taught by Dad, and French horn.

Will then took up drums after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, and by the time he was 12 had formed his first band in Miami. The band members each earned $9 a night playing the popular surfing tunes characteristic of the 60's. But in Miami, drummers were a dime a dozen. Will, with his diverse talents, shifted to bass, an instrument that offered more opportunities. Quickly becoming a successful bass player, Will was part of a succession of bands including top 40 bands with names like "Chances R," ""he Loving Kind," and "Green Cloud."

Will had a formal musical education at the University of Miami, where he studied French horn for a year and then switched to a bass major. After classes, he worked on bass fundamentals listening to not only the Beatles, but also Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Miller, The Rascals, Motown, Sly & the Family Stone, etc. He would put it all into practice six sets a night gigging with various local bands, including an innovative horn band called "Goldrush."

The Will Lee reputation spread throughout the music world and brought New York looking for him. After trumpeter Randy Brecker called Will out of class one day and invited him to NYC to audition for "Dreams" in New York, Will's career soared. He toured with B.J. Thomas, Horace Silver, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, The Brecker Brothers, and Herbie Mann. Gaining experience in the commercial field, Will found himself in high demand. As a bassist and singer, he's recorded with an extensive array of top performers including David Sanborn, Boz Scaggs Diane Schuur, 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 – and taken from his discography, these are only some of the "S's"! In addition, Will played in the New York "24th Street Band" which had great success in Japan, giving him a solo artist career that yielded him a Top 5 single.

Will can be seen every weeknight across the US playing at the Ed Sullivan Theatre as the bassist with Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra on the wildly popular Late Show with David Letterman. You can also hear him playing, singing and speaking on many commercials on both television and radio.

Will Lee's Gear
Will Lee

Gear List