Having appeared on more than 300 albums, Lewis is the drummer of choice for an amazing array of artists – from veteran jazz masters to some of today’s brightest emerging stars. Born in Phoenix, AZ, Lewis started playing drums at age 10.
At 19, he began performing with local jazz bands while attending Arizona State University and by the time he was 21 was his hometown’s “first call” jazz drummer, performing with legends like Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, Lee Konitz, Barney Kessell and Red Garland when they appeared there.
Lewis moved to New York City in 1981 and joined vocalist Betty Carter’s trio with whom he toured for four years. He has performed or recorded with many jazz immortals including Oscar Peterson, J.J. Johnson, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Benny Carter, Clark Terry, Stan Getz, Milt Jackson, Horace Silver, Ron Carter, Jim Hall and Ray Brown as well as with Wynton and Branford Marsalis and was a member of pianist Tommy Flanagan’s trio for 10 years.
In addition to his many touring and recording credits, Lewis has become a much sought after jazz educator. His lectures and workshops at elementary and high schools, music camps, universities and conservatories around the world are as much in demand as his bandstand and studio skills.
A member of the faculty at the Juilliard Institute for Jazz Studies, this is the third year Lewis has been a member of the teaching staff at the Vail Jazz Workshop.