You’ve seen him on television. And if you’ve listened to contemporary jazz over the last 30 or so years, you’ve probably heard him as well. He is bassist Will Lee, and he’s expressing himself with Love, Gratitude and Other Distractions (Sunning Saint Ltd., 2013), his first as a leader in 20 years.

Lee is the featured bassist and occasional vocalist with the CBS Orchestra on Late Show With David Letterman. He was also with the band during Letterman’s 11-year presence on NBC. For all intents and purposes, that’s his day job. More recently, he has been performing with Fab Faux, a Beatles tribute band. Among the guests for Love, Gratitude and Other Distractions are guitarists Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Hugh McCracken, Chuck Loeb, John Tropea and Steve Lukather (Toto); Bob James; drummers Narada Michael Walden, Steve Gadd and Peter Erskine; Chuck Loeb; and keyboardists Mitch Forman and David Garfield.

The title song opens the set. Late Show band leader Paul Shafer plays organ. Lee sings lead, plays fretless bass and performs synthesizer programming. The song is a charming, life is good piece, highlighted by the positive lyrics and an ethereal, keyboard solo. “Love is like a sunny day / shine and you’ll be on your way,” Lee sings in one verse.

“Papounet’s Ride” is a delightful instrumental piece that features Lee with Walden, James on piano solo, electric piano and synthesizer, and David Delhomme on Rhodes and synth. The song is inspired a nickname for Lee’s father-in-law. “On this tune, I was trying to convey the feeling of being in the car with him driving, because he’s a maniac at the wheel. We’ll go down these long straight-aways in the south of France, and it’s just like your life’s in your hands.” The pace and energy convey that sense of adventure, but Lee’s melodic bass diffuses any sense that the rider may be in danger.

Another jaunty instrumental is “Simple Way to Say I Love You,” co-written by Lee and Tropea. The song was originally written for an album by Tropea. Keyboardist Oli Rockberger co-arranged the piece, which features Lee on the fretless bass, Tropea, and Gray Schreiner on harmonica. Erskine provides easygoing brush work.

Lee was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1952. He grew up in a family of musicians. He began with piano lessons and later learned to play violin, trumpet and drums and eventually the electric bass. Among his early professional gigs was the rock band Dreams, which interestingly featured four jazz musicians, Michael and Randy Brecker, Billy Cobham and Barry Rogers. Lee later toured with Barry Manilow, B.J. Thomas, Bette Midler and the Brecker Brothers Band. He’s also done more than 1,700 studio sessions, working with a Who’s Who of pop, rock and jazz. Among the Who’s are Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Chaka Khan, Carly Simon, Steely Dan, George Benson, Gloria Estefan, Bob James, David Sanborn, The Bee Gees, Ray Charles, Frankie Valli, Weather Report, Grover Washington Jr., Spyro Gyra, Billy Joel, Pat Metheny and Paul McCartney.