The Trio

Lester McLeanGrooveyard Bio

The Lester McLean Trio has been together since April of 2003 and was formed with the sole purpose of playing a unique brand of acoustic soul, funk & pop.

The repertoire consists largely of classic Soul, R&B, Funk and Pop tunes from the 60's, 70's and 80's and also features original works from Lester himself. The unique blend of songs also shows off the stellar musicianship of the band. The instrumentation features Lester McLean on lead vocals and Soprano Sax, Juno award winning and Nationally recognized Michael Occhipinti on nylon string Guitar and background vocals and multi-instrumentalist Louis Simao on upright acoustic bass and backing vocals. Whether it is the familiarity of a Stevie Wonder Composition or a Mclean original, the band is entertaining from top to bottom.

Michael Occhipinti (Accoustic Guitar/Backini - Occhipinti is best known for his work in the jazz world, having won the JUNO for Best Contemporary Jazz Album with his group NOJO and been nominated for his own CD Creation Dream - The Songs of Bruce Cockburn. An eclectic guitarist who is by no means a traditionalist, Michael's guitar playing draws on influences ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Ali Farke Toure to jauers Jim Half and Bill Frisell, and he has performed with some for the best local groups in the blues, r&b, progressive jazz scenes.

Louis Simao (Accoustic Bass/Backing Vocals1- Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, 31-year-old Louis Simao has been performing and recording as a multi-instrumentalist in Canada, the U.S. and Europe for over a decade. Performing on bass, piano, accordion, guitar, pandeiro, surdo, cavaquinho and vocals, his love for music allows him to move freely through genres. Louis has studied in his hometown of Toronto at York University and abroad at Escola de Musica Villa Lobos in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has also traveled to Santiago, Cuba, Essoueita and Marakesh, Morroco, and Lisbon, Portugal to study the local music. Simaes diverse and highly sought after skills have afforded him the opportunity to perform and record in Canada and Europe with talented artists such as, Nelly Furtado, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Eliana Cuevas, The Clayton/Scott Group, Fourteen Remembered, & Fritz McIntyre of Simply Red. He also leads, writes and arranges for his own world-music ensemble, Pedras da Rua, which has opened for Cesaria Evora and Celso Machado, been featured on CBC Radio's Bandwith One, and has also shared a night with Brazilian reggae stars, Chico Cesar and Rita Ribeiro, the performance of which became the subject of a documentary for Braves Centre Stage Chronicles.