Will Lee

My parents were jazzers. In 1954 my father was appointed chairman of the music department at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville; my mother sang live on the radio. My first memory of any sound at all was of Miles Davis’ muted trumpet; I came out in my pajamas crying, “Mom, Dad, what’s all the noise?” My first memory of music is of waking up as a kid at two in the morning and hearing my mom singing and my dad playing the piano. Charlie Parker held me when I was two. Years later, I remember the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. When I saw the girls screaming and the close-ups of how to hit the drums—I wasn’t letting anyone else near the TV set—I was right into it. My girlfriend at the time, Anita Jeane Sherrill, the county agricultural extension agent’s daughter, saw my reaction and drawled, “Is it me or the Beatles?” You can see what my choice was.

Will Lee was born in San Antonio and lived in Huntsville until he was twelve. Since 1982 he has played bass in Paul Shaffer’s band on the David Letterman show. He has performed on close to a thousand recordings, most recently Oh! (Go Jazz/Bean Bag).

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