The way he moved about the stage was like clockwork. His mechanical yet smooth movements were complimented by his look: a patterned, button-down shirt tucked into tight jeans and a pair of vintage-looking sunglasses. He effortlessly made his bass sing, murmur, and moan. His left hand glided up and down the bass, navigating the neck like it was a map of his hometown, a grid of familiar streets and hangouts. He was relaxed, yet locked into Anton Fig’s groove and precise with pitches while jazz guitarist Oz Noy played above, on, and around him.
Just an hour earlier we sat in a cold ice locker of a room in the back of Manhattan's famous Bitter End, wondering if this would in fact be the last interview we ever gave before freezing to death. It was snowing outside, and only a few degrees warmer here amidst the bar’s freezer units and stacks of alcohol cases. Well, at least we could drink to our demise.
Will Lee is a decorated hero of bass guitar, whose credits extend far beyond his jazz background and appear throughout many corners of the music industry. A graduate of the University of Miami School of Music, he is currently a member of The World’s Most Dangerous Band on The Late Show with David Letterman.
As a studio musician, Lee has played on more than 400 albums, working with artists as diverse as Carly Simon, Barry Manilow, Mariah Carey, and Dave Matthews. He is also a member of The Fab Faux, a famous Beatles tribute band. Last but not least, he plays regular gigs with guitarist extraordinaire Oz Noy at intimate jazz clubs like the Bitter End, where we got the scoop on his career, the industry, and the “grruh” in his fabulous new signature bass.
I didn’t have to labor for hours memorizing my part for something I only have to play once in my life.