Johnlee was born September 16,1959 and passed away Tuesday, April 30,2019. He was the son of Calvin Lee Rodde and Dollyann Rodde; he grew up in Yesler Terrace a housing project located in the central area of Seattle on Yesler Way. He attended Bailey Gatzert Elementary where he started and organized the first African Drum Ensemble, he went Mercer Junior High and graduated from Garfield High School it was there he would discover the depth of his musical talent. He joined the marching band where he played the based drum, later he would join the Garfield High School Jazz Band directed by Clarence Aycox. These extraordinary group of musicians was ahead of their time playing complicated jazz compositions that sound like seasoned jazz players.
Johnlee “Aka” Little BigFoot
Johnlee’s contribution to music during those early years include community festivals like the “Black Festival and other worthy events that supported the community. Over the years he’s traveled all over the US including Alaska, Bahamas, South America, and Canada. These experiences led Johnlee to be one of the most sought out drummers in Seattle he’s work with some of the most talented artist in the music industry such as Sister Nancy, Barrington Levy, Clinton Fearon of the Gladiators, Marcie Griffiths, Frank Carrol, Lee Scratch Perry, Eek-a-Mouse, Ziggy Marley, Selassie I Soldier, Eddie Hendrix, Blue Meadows, Johnny Horn, and Motown recording artist Herman Brown and many others. One of the many highlights of his career was when he got to play with the Average White Band a 70’s funk band, where he sat in and showed off his skills.
Johnlee appeared on several tv shows one of which was Good Morning America, completed a short film called “Bookie” where he played drums on the sound track for the film and participated in the documentary of Wheedles Groove a short documentary of Seattle’s long- lost funk music scene of the ’60s and ’70s. And while touring Canada, he performed on a TV sitcom during Canada’s prime time tv entertainment program.
His recording credits included Sub Pop Records, Light in the Attic Records, Kool Yu Foot, and Boogie Brown Productions.
Johnlee is survived by his wife Vanita Rodde, sons Donelle Rodde and John Rodde.
Brothers: Dewayne and Calvin, Sisters Cindy, Betty Alice, Tammy, Tori
7 Grandchildren: Treyvon, Mekhaai, Jovante, Tyjohn, Tyjohnna, Cashaya, and Lauraja
And a host of loved ones.
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
100 Blaine Ave. NE.
Renton WA., 98056 May 17th Viewing 10:30 am-11:00 pm Services 11:00pm-1:00 pm
*Wear Blue in his honor*