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“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.

 

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Shows

 

DOUBLE BILL SHOWS LOOPING MASTER STEVE LAWSON JANUARY 24-31

Steve Lawson is an amazing musician and a good friend. He hails from the UK and will be here in California performing at the NAMM Show in LA. After he wraps up there, he and I (and a few special guests along the way) will be performing four California shows together. Steve is a 6 string fretted and fretless bassists who is a master at the art of live looping (recording yourself on stage to build tracks for songs). Steve and I have played together in England and Germany and now we get to jam in California. We'll be playing instrumentals as well as my tunes. Expect the unexpected!

Sun, January 24 - TRIPLE BILL W/STEVE LAWSON & ARTIMIS 

Private House Concert, Encino, CA - if interested email: info@johnlestermusic.com

Thrs, January 28 - TRIPLE BILL W/STEVE LAWSON & STEVE UCCELLO

Lighthouse Smokehouse, 794 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, CA - 7pm to 9pm - $15

Sat, January 30 - DOUBLE BILL W/STEVE LAWSON 

Private House Concert, San Jose, CA - if interested email: info@johnlestermusic.com

SuN, January 31 - DOUBLE BILL W/STEVE LAWSON 

Private House Concert, Montara, CA - if interested email: info@johnlestermusic.com

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 6 - JOHN LESTER "JAZZ?" QUARTET  

ANGELICAS - REDWOOD CITY, CA

doors/dinner seating starts at 6pm, music begins at 7:30 (2 sets) $18/$24 (premier seating)             

A very special birthday bash with my "Jazz?" quartet. This evening is a dinner show at my favorite venue on the SF Peninsula, Angelicas. Tonight I'll be featuring material from "Jazz?" album which consists of favorite rock songs set in a 1950's cool jazz context. Angelicas is a real gem on the peninsula with a great stage and sound. Highly recommended.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 11 - SOLO SHOW - HOPMONK, NOVATO                       224 vintage way, Novato  5-8pm

All the HopMonk breweries are quickly becoming the go-to places for great acoustic music. This'll be my first time at the Novato HopMonk. I'll be on the Garden Stage with guitars, basses, and my little ukulele doing three sets. It's casual, swing by if you're in the area. 

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 9 - DOUBLE BILL WITH MICHAEL MANRING      

DANVILLE MUSIC STORE "AFTER HOURS" - DANVILLE, CA  

 

I'm very excited to be splitting a show with bassist extraordinaire Michael Manring. We worked together on a tour in the UK a few years back and he will also be featured on a two songs on my upcoming album release in Fall 2016. We will each play sets as well as collaborate. The Danville Music Store show is a house concert style performance. More info about reservations to be announced as we get closer to the date.

 

Now booking - double bill european tour with Paul Tiernan from Nov. 3 to Nov. 19 - more details and info to come...

THURSDAY, NOV 3 - PRIVATE CONCERT - BOCHUM, GERMANY

FRIDAY, NOV 4 - OBENDOEF, GERMANY

SUNDAY, NOV 6 - ALTABONOFF, BERLIN, GERMANY

MONDAY, NOV 7 - HOUSE CONCERT - WERL GERMANY

THURSDAY, NOV 10 - PRIMAVISTA - BADEN, SWITZERLAND

Tuesday, NOV 14 - AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

 

 

    

 

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