“Whether you regard him as an acoustic singer-songwriter, a soulful vocalist, or a superb and innovative bassist... 

...his talent is undeniable.” - Time Out Magazine, London


“John doesn't just have a great voice, he is a voice! Great songs that really communicate.” - Russ Jennings, KPFA Radio


“Lester's USP is his supreme mastery of all varieties of basses and his use of them as lead instruments...

...his understated virtuosity demands attention! - Maverick Magazine


A self-assured blend of influences and deft improvisation! - iBass Magazine


“Life pondering lyrics and a cosmopolitan sense of humor.” -


John Lester




John is an award winning songwriter who has, throughout his career, had one foot in the folk/rock/acoustic music scene and the other in jazz. As a writer, John was awarded the “Song of the Year Award” from the West Coast Songwriter’s Association on two occasions (in 1999 for The Ways of a Woman and 2001 for 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 nylon string guitar and baritone steel string guitar, at times utilizing his instruments and 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, make 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 which showcases his dynamic performances in an acoustic environment.


“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



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Sun, August 23 - Bass Bureaucracy Show - DRAKES, San Leandro, CA - 2pm until 5pm

Sat, August 29 - Solo set - House Concert Fundraiser for Square Peg Foundation - Moss Beach, CA - 1pm until 4pm   I'll be playing a short set after opening act Nick Guzman and before headliner The Family Crest. This is an outdoor event and an all ages show. If you are interested in attending this fundraiser please contact the host - Peter Finch at

Fri, Sept 4 - Radio appearance KKUP "Friday Folk-off" - Cuppertino, CA - 5pm - 91.5FM

Fri, Sept 11 - Private House Concert - Bolinas, CA

Sat, Sept 12 - Private House Concert - Montara, CA

Sun, Sept 13 - Radio appearance on KPIG - 10am - 107.5 FM, Freedom, CA - 

Sun, Sept 13 - Private House Concert - San Mateo, CA

Tue, Sept 15THE ROADHOUSE - Davenport, CA - 6pm until 9pm 

Wed, Sept 16 - STRINGS - Berkeley, CA - 7:30pm

Thu, Sept 17 - ANGELICAS - Redwood City, CA - 7:30

The Angelicas show (above) will be recorded for future audio/video release. This is a special full band show. We will be playing new material as we head into the studio the following week to begin work on my new album project. I highly recommend this show. It is dinner show with seating starting at 6pm. Music performance starts at 7:30 until 9:30 - $17/22 - Tickets/Reservations at:

Fri, Sept 18BAZAAR CAFE - San Francisco - 7pm until 9:30pm

Sat, Sept 19 - Private House Concert - Saratoga, CA




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