Jazz icon, Drummer Mel Lewis represents what American Big Band music is all about in this exclusive, live concert DVD entitled Mel Lewis and his Big Band, which also features Joe Lovano and Lewis’ renowned Sax Section. The consummate professional, Lewis garnered numerous Grammy nominations and played with a sensitivity and feeling that propelled him into one of the Jazz world’s best and most respected drummers.
Mel’s standout 3-piece rhythm section serves as a band-within-a-band, maintaining the flow of energy, while giving constant support and direction. As a leader, Lewis is recognized for his ability to make a Big Band swing like a Bebop quartet. His unselfish and innovative approach to Big Band music prominently displays his players by allowing them a creative and expansive freedom to solo. Despite Lewis’ decision to rarely solo himself, his innate sense of timing and dynamic cymbal work seamlessly complimented soloists without overwhelming them in a fashion that helped form a cohesive big band unit.
One of the most acclaimed and innovative big bands in jazz history.” -Bill Kirchner, New York Times
Lewis developed the “trio” rhythm concept before he moved west to play for Stan Kenton, where he began to leave his mark on Jazz history and earn his reputation as a hard swinging drummer with an iron hand on the tempo. While in California he added the Swing to the West Coast Cool Jazz Movement, before moving to NYC in the early 1960s as drummer for the Gerry Mulligan Big Band and the Ben Webster Quartet.
In 1965, Lewis and trumpeter Thad Jones formed the band that would become an unforgettable part of the Jazz narrative and ensure their status with the Jazz elite. The Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Big Band would grow into one of the preeminent big bands of all-time, most famously playing every Monday night at New York’s famed Village Vanguard. Lewis’ ensemble proved they had more staying power than most of the groups of the “Big-Band era,” carrying the torch of American Big Band Jazz for nearly 4 decades.
Mel Lewis’ impeccable legacy is brought to life in the special film, recorded live from Jerusalem, that showcases the very best in American Big Band Music and the man who faithfully transformed Monday nights into a Jazz requisite.
“A stirring performance.” -JazzTimes
The Mel Lewis Big Band features:
Joe Lovano, Billy Drewes, Dick Oatts, Ralph Lalama, Gary Smulyan, Chris Albert, Joe Mosello, Ron Tooley, Jim Powell, Doug Purviance, Brad McDougal, John Mosca, Ed Neumeister, Sarah Larson, Lynn Roberts, Dennis Irwin, and Phil Markowitz
- I’m Getting Sentimental Over You
- Ding Dong Ding
- I Get A Kick Over You
- I Wanna Be Happy
- Little Pixie.