Les Butler Bio
Keys/Jazz Musician/ Music Writer/ Music Producer
Leslie Alan Butler was born in Los Angeles, California. When he was two, his family moved to La Puente, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. He first fell in love with music when he was four years old. While playing in the front yard of his home, he heard someone playing an instrument next door. He asked his mother what it was and she took him next door to discover this sound…a piano. Les quickly became attached to the piano and many other instruments in elementary school. He tried nearly all the instruments in his school band before settling on the saxophone. At ten years old Les began playing the piano at church with the encouragement of his family and instruction of his Cousin, Mattie Johnson and Sister, Francis Taylor.
While gospel music had always been a part of the Butler household, another aural discovery was made in 1974 when Les’ brothers introduced him to jazz. This genre of music captured countless hours of Les’ time. Listening and playing along until whole albums were learned and then performed for anyone who came to the Butler home. This encounter created a springboard for musical achievements including the appointment of Drum Major beginning his sophomore year at Bassett High School, and Student Director of the Jazz Ensemble and Concert Band. These precursory achievements led Les to the University of La Verne where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Music with an emphasis on composition. He was the leader of the Student Jazz Ensemble, Student Director of the Chamber Singers and Music Director of the BSU Yearly Variety Show. Les graduated from the University of La Verne in 1987 with departmental honors.
Les’ love of gospel music was nurtured by his parents and siblings who all sing and/or play instruments. He honed his ability to learn songs quickly by playing piano in church at Friendship Baptist Church of La Puente, California, and later at Avenue Baptist Church of Los Angeles for everyone from soloists to the family singing group “The Mellowtones”. In 1992, Les was invited by his best friend to play for “one Sunday” at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Pomona, California. As the spirit of God blessed Les’ life, “one Sunday” evolved into sixteen years of service. For the past ten years Les has been the Minister of Music at Antioch and has experienced the blessings that only service to God can bring. In the year 2000, Les was honored when Antioch Missionary Baptist Church named its annual youth award “The Les Butler Award” for his faithfulness and dedication to the ministry.
Along his musical career Les has written, produced and played with a number of successful artists across many musical genres. Some of his production and writing credits include gospel artists Norman Hutchins (CD: “Learning to live Holy”/ song “Gods Grace”), Makeda Francisco (CD: “The Return” / songs ”I Am” and “That Tree”), Bridgette Bentley (CD: “My Praise” / Songs “My Praise”, “Nothing but the blood” and “It is well”) and a soon to be release project from Myesha Taylor. Rhythm & Blues Marques Houston (“Say My Name”), Rapper Will Smith (CD: “Willennium” / song “Afro Angel”), Eric Benet (CD: “A Day in the Life”/ songs “Something Real” and “Ghetto Girl”), Tamar Braxton (CD: “Tamar” / Songs “I’m over you”, “The way it should be” and “If you don’t wanna love me”), and Something for the People (CD: ”This time its personal” / Song “Intro” and CD: “Issues” / Songs “I apologize”, “No Man” and “Last Call”). Les’s film, soundtrack and television credits include work on the ABC television series “For Your Love”, Universal Pictures movie “Deliver Us from Eva” (song ”Sooner or Later”), Warner Bros. Film “The Ride” (song “No One”) and Allenhouse Entertainments film “Tapped Out”. Les has played with jazz giants Wilton Felder (the Crusaders) and Dave Koz (Grammy Winner/ Smooth Jazz). His player list also includes blues artist Kebmo (Grammy Winner / Blues), bass guitar legend Louis Johnson (The Brothers Johnson), and Warner Bros Recording group “Something for the People”. Spring 2010 will bring the much anticipated release of a project from his own Smooth Jazz group “Pro2Call”. Les is also currently the Music Director for the 2007 Smooth Jazz Magazine Debut Artist of the year Jackiem Joyner.
Look for more music very soon from this multitalented musician, writer and producer.
Les currently lives in Montclair, California with his wife Dayna and children Jessica and Jordan. His professional career includes appointments as Director of Financial Aid at Marymount College Palos Verdes (1995) and Biola University (2002). He is currently the Associate Director of Financial Aid at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California.