JohnLester-NYC1.jpg

 

 

 

 

“Whether you regard him as a singer-songwriter, a soulful vocalist,

or a superb and innovative bassist, his talent is undeniable.” 

- Timeout Magazine

 
 

John Lester

Singer-Songwriter-Bassist-Guitarist

 

 

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.

 

UpcomingShowsBushHall3 copy.jpg

ShoWS

 

Recent Shows:

SAT, APRIL 9 - WITH MICHAEL MANRING AT DANVILLE MUSIC - DANVILLE, CA

FRIDAY, APRIL 15 - SUPPORT SET FOR FREE PEOPLES AT DOC'S LAB, SAN FRANCISCO

SATURDAY, APRIL 30 - BASS BUREAUCRACY at JUPITER, BERKELEY, CA

SUNDAY, MAY 15 - PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT DOUBLE BILL with MICHAEL MANRING

 

Upcoming Shows:

FRIDAY, JUNE 3 - SOLO SHOW AT HOPMONK, SOnoma

691 Broadway, Sonoma, CA  5-7pm (2 sets)

I'll be returning to HopMonk Sonoma for a solo show. This time I'll be in open air beer garden with guitars, basses, and my little ukulele doing two sets of original music. It's casual, swing by if you're in the area. 

 

"THIRD ThursdayS" - june 16 - john lester trio with KENON CHEN at angelicas

831 Main Street, Redwood City, CA   7:30 (dinner seating starts at 6pm)  $10-$15 advance tickets

THIRD THURSDAYS - SUMMER RESIDENCY - My favorite venue on the SF Peninsula, Angelicas, has asked me to host a once a month show with my trio and special guests. Angelicas is a beautiful room with great acoustics, a grand piano, and a fantastic sound system. My first guest is singer-songwriter-guitarist Kenon Chen. Kenon and I met in the late 90's through the West Coast Songwriters open mic competitions. Kenon and I were both a bit geeky about our sound, so the two of us would arrive early at the competitions as we each had gear to set up before performing. We became instant fans of each others music (and each ended up winning WCS's Song of the Year in separate years). Kenon and I toured the UK together (along with my guest for July, Ariel Thiermann) in 2005. Expect a great opening set from Kenon and also some collaborating when he guests with my trio featuring Baxter Roberson (piano) and Daniel Berkman (drums & percussion). This is a dinner show, so book a table and enjoy the evening with us. Music is from 7:30 until 9:30.

 

"THIRD THURSDAYS" - JUly 21 - JOHN LESTER TRIO WITH ARIEL THIERMANN AT ANGELICAS

831 Main Street, Redwood City, CA   7:30 (dinner seating starts at 6pm)  $10-$15 advance tickets

THIRD THURSDAYS - SUMMER RESIDENCY - My summer residency extends to it's second month with special guest Ariel Thiermann. Ariel is a wonderful singer-songwriter-pianist from Santa Cruz. She's an outstanding vocalist who performs as a solo artist and with her vocal trio Mayim. Ariel will play the opening set at the grand piano, then my trio and I will play a 90 minute set. This is a dinner show, so book a table and enjoy the evening with us. Music is from 7:30 until 9:30.

 

THURSDAY, Aug 18 - JOHN LESTER TRIO W/SPECIAL GUEST AT ANGELICAS, REDWOOD CITY

831 Main Street, Redwood City, CA   7:30 (dinner seating starts at 6pm)  $10-$15 advance tickets

My favorite venue on the SF Peninsula, Angelicas, has asked me to host a once a month show with my trio and special guests. I'll be inviting both established and emerging acts to join me each month. Angelicas is a beautiful room with great acoustics, a grand piano, and I just love their stage. This is a dinner show, so book a table and enjoy the evening with us. Each guest (tba) will play a 30 minute support set, followed by my trio. Music is from 7:30 until 9:30.

 

SUNDAY, Aug 28 - BASS BUREAUCRACY AT DRAKES, SAN LEANDRO, CA

1933 Davis Street #177, San Leandro, CA  2pm-5pm (3 sets)

Bass Bureaucracy is my all bass and beats looping project with special guests. I'll playing 4 and 6 string acoustic and electric basses and building live loops for my songs and improvisations. Special guest tba.

 

SATURDAY, Sept 10 - BASS BUREAUCRACY AT JUPITER, BERKELEY, CA

2181 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA  8pm-11pm (3 sets)

Bass Bureaucracy is my all bass and beats looping project with special guests. I'll playing 4 and 6 string acoustic and electric basses and building live loops for my songs and improvisations. Special guest tba.

 

THURSDAY, SEPT 22 - SOLO SHOW AT BAY OF PINES, MONTEREY, CA

150 Del Monte Avenue, Monterey, CA  7pm-9pm  $10 at the door

After a very successful Monterey show in January, I've been invited back for a solo show. This is a dinner show at the new downtown Bay of Pines. I'll play two sets on guitar, bass, and my little ukulele starting at 7pm. Reservations recommended.

FRIDAY, SEPT 23 - SOLO SHOW LAGUNA BEACH AMPHITHEATRE

Beach Amphitheatre, Laguna Beach

I've been invited to play a September music series in beautiful Laguna Beach by local radio personality and singer-songwriter Jason Freddy at KX935. I'll be playing a solo set in the amphitheatre overlooking the ocean. More details tba.

SATURDAY, SEPT 24 - TBA (LOS ANGELES AREA)

House concert to be announced

 

SUNDAY, SEPT 25 - SOLO SHOW LOS ANGELES COUNTY FAIR

LA County Fairgrounds 1101 West McKinley Ave, Pomona, CA

I've been invited to play at the Tiny Homes stage by Kevin Polk. I met Kevin in January when he an his wife hosted a house concert with Steve Lawson and I. It's always great to meet new people through the house concert work. I learned "Tiny Houses", a project that Kevin has started that could help displaced and unaffordable-housed Los Angeles residents find their place again. He'll be hosting a stage at the fair and I'll perform solo on closing day. More info to be announced.

 

 

Now booking - double bill european tour with Paul Tiernan from Nov. 3 to Nov. 19

(more details to be annouced)

THURSDAY, NOV 3 - PRIVATE CONCERT - BOCHUM, GERMANY

FRIDAY, NOV 4 - KULTURKONSUM - ORANIENBERG, BERLIN, GERMANY

SATURDAY, NOV 5 - OBENDOEF, GERMANY

SUNDAY, NOV 6 - ALTABONOFF - FRIEDENAU, BERLIN, GERMANY

MONDAY, NOV 7 - HOUSE CONCERT - WERL, GERMANY

WEDNESDAY, NOV 9 - KANAPEE - HANNOVER, GERMANY

THURSDAY, NOV 10 - PRIMAVISTA - BADEN, SWITZERLAND

FRIDAY THRU SUNDAY, NOV 11-13 - SWITZERLAND - tba

TUESDAY, NOV 15 - PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

WEDNESDAY, NOV 16 - tba

THURSDAY, NOV 17 - tba

FRIDAY, NOV 18 - PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT, MONNICKENDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

SATURDAY, NOV 19 - PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT, BERLIN, GERMANY

 

 

    

 

News & Updates

 

Twitter