Violinist with the Long Island Philharmonic whose career as a session musician stretches at least as far back as Perez Prado’s Exotic Suite of the Americas, recorded in 1962.
In 1964, he accompanied Sarah Vaughan on Viva! Vaughan. He teamed up with Sarah again on Sarah Vaughan Sings the Mancini Songbook, released the following year, along with Jimmy Ricks’ Vibrations and Wes Montgomery’s Bumpin’. Wes would employ his services again on 1967’s A Day in the Life, as would Antonio Carlos Jobim on Wave. He re-united with Wes on California Dreamin’ in 1968, a year that also saw him teaming up with J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding on Betwixt and Between and Israel, Tamiko Jones on I’ll Be Anything for You, and Milton Nascimento on Courage. In 1969, he appeared on Nina Simone’s To Love Somebody and Walter Wanderley’s When it Was Done.
He didn’t slow down much in the ’70s, helping The Fabulous Rhinestone launch their self-titled album in 1972. In 1973, he was in the studio with Jackie DeShannon, recording Your Baby is a Lady. He paired up with Chet Baker in 1974 on She Was Too Good for Me, and Hank Crawford on Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing. In 1975, he hooked up with Hank again on I Hear a Symphony, and joined sax-man Grover Washington, Jr. on Feels So Good. He took a Short Trip to Space with John Tropea in 1977. In 1978, he offered Good and Plenty with John Faddis, scored a Touchdown with Bob James, provided Counterpoint with Ralph MacDonald , and helped Noel Pointer Hold On: He also appeared on Dave Valentin’s Legends and, with Horace Silver, recorded Silver ‘n Strings Play the Music of Spheres. He collaborated with Michael Franks on Tiger in the Rain in 1979, went undercover with Carly Simon on Spy, and appeared on Frank Sinatra’s boxed set, Trilogy.
In 1980, he got Naughty with Chaka Khan, played some hot jazz with Spyro Gyra on Catching the Sun, and celebrated the Yuletide with Meco on Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album. He was Incognito with Spyro Gyra in 1982, and helped Luther Vandross serve up the valentine, Forever, For Always, For Love. In 1983, he was a special guest on The Club New Yorker of the Great Jazz Trio and accompanied Stevie Nicks on The Wild Heart and Barbara Rankin on It’s Been a Long, Long Time. He re-united with Ralph MacDonald on Universal Rhythm in 1984, and laid down tracks with Diane Schuur for Deedles. In 1987, he rejoined the Great Jazz Trio on their Standard Collection and demonstrated Will Power with Joe Jackson. He appeared on a pair of soundtracks from Spike Lee films, School Daze and Do the Right Thing, in 1988 and 1989, respectively. In 1989, he also appeared on the Lenny Kravitz album, Let Love Rule.
One of his last recordings appears to be B.B. King’s 1991 release, Love Me Tender. There are plenty of opportunities to hear Lewis’s violin stylings on re-releases and re-packagings in the digital era, including the Antonio Carlos Jobim tribute album, The Man from Ipanema, Restoration: The Best of Bob James, and Wes Montgomery’s Talkin’ Verve (Roots of Acid Jazz).
Frank Sinatra recordings
That’s What God Looks Like To Me (Stan Irvin/Lan O’Kun)
Reprise RPS 49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)
Theme from “New York, New York” (Fred Ebb/John Kander)
Reprise RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)
Here’s Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Wave” from the album of the same name, which Lewis performed on…