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Victor Lewis

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  • Born: Omaha, NE
  • Years Active: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

A major drummer since the 1980s who is capable of swinging hard in a variety of modern settings, Victor Lewis has been a strong asset on a countless number of sessions. His parents were musicians who toured with territory bands. Lewis studied cello, piano (he had four years of classical lessons), and then drums. Born in Omaha, NE, Lewis had his first local gigs when he was 15, and after graduating from high school he was a music major at the University of Nebraska. After his band opened for the Herbie Hancock Sextet in 1972, Lewis was encouraged by Buster Williams and Billy Hart to move to New York. After a brief stay in Minnesota, Lewis did relocate to N.Y.C. in 1974, and soon he was in great demand. He performed with many top artists including Woody Shaw, Carla Bley, David Sanborn, and Dexter Gordon; between 1980 and 1991 he was a member of Stan Getz's quartet, which also included pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Rufus Reid. For a period in the 1990s he was well featured with Horizon (a group he co-led with Bobby Watson). In addition to his playing abilities, Lewis is well known for encouraging young talent, while his compositional skills have resulted in some of his songs being recorded by other jazz musicians. Lewis has led sessions of his own for Red, AudioQuest, and Enja. In 2007 he was reunited with his former Getz quartet rhythm section mates Barron and Reid to record We Used to Dance (with session leader Joel Frahm on tenor sax).