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William Franklin “Will” Lee IV (born September 8, 1952) is an American musician and bassist, best known for his work on the CBS television program Late Show with David Letterman as part of the CBS Orchestra.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Lee has recorded and/or toured with many artists including Bette Midler, The Brecker Brothers, Barry Manilow, Tatsuro Yamashita, Mariah Carey, Carly Simon, George Benson, Bob Mintzer, Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, B.B. King, Cat Stevens, Michael Bolton, Ringo Starr, Gloria Estefan & the Miami Sound Machine, Cyndi Lauper, James Brown, Cher, Laura Nyro, Al Green, Billy Joel, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra, Carl Perkins, KISS Guitarist Ace Frehley, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, David Sanborn, Spyro Gyra, Ricky Martin, Natalie Cole, Roy Buchanan and others. Lee was also present on the Mark & Clark Bands hit record Worn Down Piano. Lee also performs with his Beatles tribute band, The Fab Faux, and has even had the opportunity to share the stage with three Beatles.
The Brecker Bros. (Arista, 1975) is as near a perfect debut as is likely to be heard anywhere. From the opening one-two punch of the up-tempo “Some Skunk Funk” and greasier “Sponge,” a number of Brecker Brothers markers are already defined: forceful three-voice horn lines; guitar and keyboards support, both comping and providing additional counter-melodies; and unshakable, in-the-pocket grooves from bassists and drummers joined at the hip. This is rock-edged music to be sure, but it couldn’t have come from anywhere else but a collective with a firm foothold in the jazz tradition. And when it comes to soloing, beyond the intrinsic virtuosity of everyone involved, this is a truly electric and electrified band, with Randy’s first trumpet solo on “Some Skunk Funk” a searing, soaring exploration of melody and sound. Michael’s opening salvo is more decidedly acoustic, but he’s already in the process of formulating the signatures at this early stage (still in his mid-twenties), and it’s abundantly clear that he’s already a force with which to be reckoned; a player who will go on to influence both peers like Bob Berg and future generations of players like Chris Potter.