John Lee Sanders who hails from the Mississippi Delta, came to the Bay Area when his band Uncle Rainbow relocated from Dallas, Texas to San Francisco in the late 70s. They were brought to the Bay Area by Doobie Brothers' Michael Hossack who saw great potential in the group. Even though the group had a huge following, they were unable to secure a recording deal and broke up after a few years. John Lee stayed in the Bay Area and formed the band 360 that included Stef Burns who would many years later join Huey Lewis and the News. But also this band broke up and John Lee Sanders played in the house band of the Saddle Rack, Country Club, San Jose from 1984 to 1987.

John Lee Sanders became a top West Coast session player and producer, on keyboards, saxophone and horn arrangements, with a host of legendary blues, jazz and pop giants including John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Witherspoon, Freddie King, Dr. John, The Meters, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Page, Tower of Power & Stevie Wonder. In addition, on Sunday mornings, he was the hammond organist and vocal soloist at Beebe Memorial Church in Oakland, CA one of the largest black churches in the Bay Area, performing contemporary and traditional gospel. He toured extensively during the 90ís with Starship, Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings, Paul Williams, Mary Wells, Sam Moore, and as music director with Long John Baldry, holding down the keyboard spot formerly held by Elton John.

In 1995 he signed his first solo record deal with Hypertension/BMG in Germany and toured as a solo act throughout Europe. The albums "It's All Blues To Me" (1999), "Mozart: Rhythm & Romance" (2000) and "Beacon Of Light" (2005) followed. Not all of these albums are dedicated to the blues, though. "Mozart: Rhythm & Romance" is an appreciation for classical music and "Beacon Of Light" reflects John Lee's gospel roots.

John Lee Sanders - Live in Germany, with the Long John Baldry Band,
1995, Ohne Filter

In 2004, John Lee was nominated for blues song of the year at the WC Handy awards for his #9 blues charted hit, Foreclose on the House of Love. His songs have been covered by Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations, Marcia Ball and Sally Kellerman (AKA, Hot lips from MASH) and have appeared in numerous TV shows and commercials. His song "Just One Kiss" is nominated for a 2007 Emmy Award.

John Lee left the Bay Area and is now based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, where he works out of his own studio, and is writing film scores, music for television, and working on an upcoming musical and various solo projects. Recently he has released the 2CD Set "Live at Rock Beach" and a DVD of the same name - both of them highly recommended. John Lee Sanders also never lost the touch with the Bay Area - he is the lead vocalist on the CD "Doc Goes Hollywood" by Tower of Power's Doc Kupka. Plus, John Lee has already been singing vocals on Doc's Strokeland Superband CDs "Kick It Up A Step" (2000) and "Bumped Up To First Class" (2007).

Please check out John Lee Sander's music and also his website(s) where you will find additional biographical info.



  • 1995 World Blue
  • 1999 It's All Blues To Me
  • 2000 Mozart: Rhythm & Romance
  • 2005 Beacon Of Light
  • 2006 Live At Rock Beach

  • John Lee SandersWorld Blue
    John Lee Sanders

    (Hypertension/BMG 1995)
    Let It Roll -- Stars Fall From The Sky -- Right Back Where You Want Me -- Too Close To Be Friends -- Black Dog -- Tomorrow's Checkin' Up On Me -- Who's Cheatin' Who -- Do You Need A Miracle -- Stand By -- Year Of The Dragon -- Cosmic Drum -- Arrivederci

    Musicians: John Lee Sanders (piano, keyboards, saxes, vocals, sequencer programming); David Garibaldi (drums); Garth Webber (guitar); Stef Burns (guitar); Dennis Murphy (bass); Joe Hodge (percussion); Tom Poole (trumpet); Johnnie Bamont (alto and bari sax); Melisa Kary, Dallis Kraft, Loralee Christensen, Kathi McDonald (vocals); Irene Sazer (violin); Chris Caswell (keyboards and drum programming)

    John Lee SandersIt's All Blues To Me
    John Lee Sanders

    (World Blue Records 1999)
    It's All Blues To Me -- One Crazy Night -- Saturday Night Fish Fry -- Too Low Down For Me -- Lost in the Shuffle -- Never Had It So Good -- Sorry Shade Of Blue -- Powerful Stuff -- What's Up Wit Dat -- West Coast Blues -- Foreclose on the House of Love -- Spanish Inquisition -- No Man's A Free Man -- Love Police -- Space Traveler

    Musicians: John Lee Sanders (piano, sax, vocals); Garth Webber (guitar); Jeff Tamelier (guitar); Peter Booras (drums); Dennis Murphy (bass); Myron Dove (bass); Tom Poole (trumpet); Dave Mathews (hammond organ); Butch Coulter (harmonica); Kenny Bill Stinson (slide guitar)

    John Lee SandersMozart: Rhythm & Romance
    John Lee Sanders

    (Raw Records 2000)
    Saint Cecelia's Parade -- Musica De Noches -- Memory In The Mist -- Mozart In Mississippi -- Heart Of Hearts -- Samba Amadeus -- Au Revoir Salzburg -- Rhythm And Romance -- Paris 1778 -- Blue Rondo A La Miles -- Someone To Cling To -- Through The Storm

    Musicians: John Lee Sanders (vocals, flute, pennywhistle, soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, piano, organ); Irina Mikhailova (vocals); Jeff Linsky, Bruce Kaphan (guitar); Shelly Phillips (Irish harp); Ruth Davies (bass); Ron E. Beck (drums)

    John Lee SandersBeacon of Light
    John Lee Sanders

    (John Lee Sanders 2005)
    Beacon of Light -- Covered By Him -- I Surrender All -- Come Fount Of Every Blessing -- His Eye Is On The Sparrow -- Deep River -- Have Faith -- No Ways Tired -- Through the Strom -- Mary Don't You Weep -- Flight Of The Angels -- Something to Cling To
    John Lee SandersLive at Rock Beach
    John Lee Sanders

    (John Lee Sanders 2006)
    CD 1: Let Me Run That Bayou -- Big Chief -- Get Rhythm -- Never Make Your Move Too Soon -- Blue Eyes Gone -- New orleans Medley: Hey Pockyway/Down By The Riverside/Iko Iko -- Yello Moon Interstate -- I'd Rather Go Blind -- Lost In The Shuffle -- I'd Trade A Lifetime -- Foreclose On The House Of Love

    CD 2: One Crazy Night -- Midnight In New Orleans -- Please Send Me Someone To Love -- Spanish Inquisition -- Saturday Night Fish Fry Red Flags -- Introduction (Mama's Song) -- I Never Saw It Coming -- How Long Do You Hang On To A Dream -- It's All Blues To Me

    Musicians: John Lee Sanders (vocals/piano/tenor sax); Tim Porter (guitar); Dennis Marcenko (bass); Darryl Havers (hammond organ/accordian); Chris Nordquist (drums); Bob Bracken (harmonica); Kathi McDonald (guest vocalist)

    John Lee SandersDVD

    Live at Rock Beach
    John Lee Sanders

    (John Lee Sanders 2006)

    It's All Blues To Me -- Foreclose On The House Of Love -- Let Me Run That Bayou -- Blue Eyes Gone -- One Crazy Night -- Midnight In New Orleans -- I'd Rather Go Blind -- Lost In The Shuffle -- I Never Saw It Coming -- Yellow Moon Interstate

    Musicians: John Lee Sanders (vocals/piano/tenor sax); Tim Porter (guitar); Dennis Marcenko (bass); Darryl Havers (hammond organ/accordian); Chris Nordquist (drums); Bob Bracken (harmonica); Kathi McDonald (guest vocalist)

    Albums featuring John Lee Sanders:




    Further Links:

  • Official John Lee Sanders Website

  • John Lee Sanders MySpace Website

  • John Lee Sanders & The World Blue Band


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