Lloyd Wells is an American jazz guitarist, now residing in Nashville, Tennessee. He is best known for his work on The Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Sesame Street, The Electric Company, The Ed Sullivan Show, and later as arranger and Music Director at Opryland USA theme park in Nashville. He also worked with Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney, and with the Glenn Miller orchestra, under the direction of Buddy DeFranco. He is an inductee of the Mississippi Music Hall of Fame.
Wells grew up in Laurel, Mississippi, the same town where another notable jazz guitarist, Mundell Lowe, grew up. He did his first professional work playing for square dances while still attending high school. He attended the University of Southern Mississippi, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education.
In 1964, with encouragement from Mundell Lowe, Wells moved to New York City, where he soon got work in the pit orchestras of Broadway shows. He remained in New York for 10 years, where he was a self-described "work-a-day guitar player." According to Wells, he "... made a decent living, bought a house, raised a family, lived in Manhattan for six years and then moved to Englewood, New Jersey... Mundie (Mundell Lowe) opened a lot of doors for me. I did a lot of subbing. Mundie had The Merv Griffin Show at the time and I did subbing there and then he had The Tonight Show Band and I got to do a lot of subbing there." (Just Jazz Guitar magazine, November 2007, page 149.)
In 1973, Wells and his family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he took a job as arranger and music director for Opryland USA theme park, remaining in that position for 23 years. During that period, he wrote about 5,000 arrangements. Wells also did a lot of jingle work in studios in New York and Nashville.
Wells cites his most memorable jobs, naming two appearances at the White House (with Tennessee Ernie Ford) and playing on Sesame Street and The Electric Company form the top penthouse of Radio City Music Hall.
Lloyd is a member of the W. C. Handy Jazz All-Stars, regularly performing at the annual W. C. Handy Music Festival, performing alongside noted jazz musicians such as vibraphonist / drummer Chuck Redd, drummer Bill Goodwin, pianist / vocalist Johnny O'Neal, pianist / vocalist Ray Reach, bassist Neal Starkey, trumpeter Ken Watters, saxophonist Rick Bell and guitarist Mundell Lowe.
- "Mundell Lowe" by Ed Benson. Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, November, 2007, page 149.