with RUSS PHILLIPS
118th Birthday Tribute
"A Sound like no other. I like him best when he plays in pastels, but every note is beautiful... is loving. Bobby loves life as he loves music... and I love Bobby Lewis."
-- Peggy Lee, 1995
Bobby Lewis - trumpet/flugelhorn
Russ Phillips - trombone
Jeremy Kahn - piano
Stewart Miller - bass
Phil Grateau - drums
Considered a master trumpeter/flugelhorn player, Lewis is famous for his lyrical style and warm sound, especially on the flugelhorn. He has been a leading figure in Chicago Jazz since 1961, continuously appearing as the leader of his own bands at Jazz Clubs, Festivals and Concerts in Chicago, all over the U.S. and internationally (India, Japan, The Netherlands, Australia, Scotland, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Canada). He was the creator and leader of numerous critically acclaimed music ensembles including EARS – JAZZ OF ALL ERAS, a spontaneous creative jazz group that performed for over 17 years. Considered an expert in all jazz genres he is also in demand as a guest performer with Dixieland bands, traditional combos, big bands and avant-garde experimental groups.
As Chicago Tribune Jazz Critic Howard Reich has written: “In concert, he has provided haunting melodic counterpoints to performances by icons of jazz singing, among them Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Joe Williams, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughn and just about everyone else. Perhaps Peggy Lee summed up best what these vocalists, and others valued about Lewis’ work: “A sound like no other” Lee once said. “I like him best when he plays in pastels, but every note is beautiful…is loving.” In fact Bobby was her musical director and featured soloist for several engagements, and a lifelong friend.
As producer of 12 CD recordings, (the most recent release in 2016) Bobby leads his group and guest performers in creative musical interpretations of standards, Latin tunes and melodic original compositions of his own and some of his band members.
Almost limitless as a musical artist, he has also appeared with the Chicago Symphony and St. Louis Symphony orchestras, and with Al Jarreau and the Milwaukee Symphony, among others. Additionally, he has been a top Chicago studio musician with over 7,500 recording credits including TV and radio commercials, films, and with numerous recording artists from Natalie Cole to The American Breed.
His “played with” list includes: the Jack Teagarden Sextet, Claude Thornhill, Tex Beneke and the Modernaires, Benny Carter, Marion McPartland, Henry Mancini, Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, Doc Severinsen, Roy Eldridge, Clark Terry, Art Hodes, Jaco Pastorius, Jabbo Smith and James Brown to name a few!
Lewis has received numerous awards, including two music composition fellowship grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. These compositions (among others) were performed and recorded by his group THE FOREFRONT – a contemporary ensemble of four trumpets (two LP’s re-released on CD). He was named 1997 Musician Of The Year by the Del Segno Musicians Club of Chicago. He received his Masters Degree in music performance from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.