Sanders is back with renewed passion

Louisiana bluesman John Lee Sanders and his band take the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday, Nov. 17. - submitted
Louisiana bluesman John Lee Sanders and his band take the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday, Nov. 17.
— image credit: submitted

Celebrated Louisiana bluesman John Lee Sanders returns to rock the house at the Vernon Jazz Club Saturday.

Immersed in the jazz, blues, funk, and gospel music of the Louisiana Mississippi Delta, Sanders is famed for his boogie piano, Texas tenor sax, and soulful vocals burning hot or smoky cool.

This is one of Sanders’ first concerts in the valley since his 2010 New Year’s gig at the VJC.

Mere weeks after the concert, Sanders was diagnosed with stage-four throat cancer. Two years later, Sanders is cancer free with 100 per cent of his vocal range intact.

This is wonderful news not only for Sanders but also his enthusiastic fans who can’t wait for him to perform the old favourites and Sanders’ own celebrated tunes.

Sanders extensive recordings include CD Bucket Full of Blues, which won the 2009 B.C. Interior Music Awards Best Blues, Soul, and Hip Hop CD, and the American Blues Awards 2004 Blues Song of the Year nominee Foreclose on the House of Love.

Sanders’ songs, voice, and scores are often heard on radio and television, and his sexy jazz ballad Just One Kiss from the soap opera The Bold and The Beautiful received a Best Song Emmy nomination in 2007.

August, 2012 saw Sanders receive standing ovations in Vancouver and Calgary opening for pop and blues icon Bonnie Raitt.

“Bonnie and I were fans of each other for years.  She and I talked about possibly touring together for 2012, but my illness put that on hold.  But, I was thankful for being her opening act,” said Sanders.

Sanders’ musical resume is like a history lesson in American pop, jazz, and R&B, recording and performing with such legends as John Lee Hooker, Willie Nelson, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Page, Sam Moore, Mary Wells, and Stevie Wonder.

His musical journey began back in 1953 when his family moved to Jackson, Miss., home of the Delta blues.

“I studied classical music and jazz later in life, but my earliest memories are blues, and the African-American culture that created it,” said Sanders.

At 12, Sanders was billed as “Birmingham’s answer to Little Stevie Wonder.” Graduating from the prestigious North Texas State University music program, he eventually developed a passion for New Orleans piano.

“I first heard New Orleans music with the Preservation Hall Jazz band and they were on fire.  That experience stayed with me all my life,” said Sanders.

Sanders returns with a smoking hot band.

Guitarist Tim Porter is equally skilled in blues, country, rockabilly, jazz, bottleneck slide, and funk. A seasoned session player with countless recording credits, Porter also teaches guitar.

In demand bass player Dennis Marcenko was voted bass player of the year in the 2009 B.C. Country Music Awards. He’s toured with an impressive array of artists including Aaron Pritchett, Lisa Brokop, k.d. lang, Colin James, and the Powder Blues band.

Drummer Scott Grant has been performing with Sanders since 2008. Known for his performing versatility, Grant operates The Modern Drum Room, a sophisticated teaching and recording facility in Kelowna.

John Lee Sanders and his band take the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club, 3000-31st St., Saturday at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the Bean Scene or Bean to Cup or buy them online at www.vernonjazzclub.ca.


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