Vic Lewis Plays Bossa Nova At Home (London) And Away (Hollywood)
LP | 1963 | EU | Reissue (EMI)
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Release:1963 / EU – Reissue
Limited edition of 300 copies!Primarily known as a conductor and composer than a performer, Vic Lewis was an important figure in British jazz from the early 1940's onwards. Born in North London July 29th, 1919, he started out as a rhythm guitarist (playing at three years old!) and also held the occasional cornet and trombone. His debut recording was in 1938 on a New York session featuring Eddie Condon, Pee Wee Russell and Bobby Hackett. During World War Two Lewis served in the Royal Air force and formed a band with drummer Jack Parnell - The Lewis-Parnell Jazzmen. They were a popular group who often topped music polls and recorded for Parlophone. Lewis also made a number of recordings with the Buddy Featherstonehaugh Sextet on HMV and formed his first professional band with Carlo Krahmer as co-leader featuring George shearing on piano. Shearing wasn't the only international name to have an association with Lewis - a seven year old Victor Feldman made his recording debut alongside Lewis. Between 1944-1945, Lewis worked with Stephane Grappelli & Ted Heath before starting his own band in 1947.Often billed as "The Music Of Tomorrow By the Band Of Today," his sound was regarded as 'progressive' for the times, frequently featuring the arrangements and compositions of pianist Ken Thorne. Many comparisons were made with Stan Kenton at the time and there's no doubt that Lewis had a healthy regard for Kenton's sound.Indeed, Kenton would give Lewis charts for music by the likes of Bill Holman and Pete Rugolo (including Rugolo's 'Hammersmith Riff', performed at the inauguration of a twenty piece orchestra at the Hammersmith Palais). Lewis visited the US with his band during a tour in 1956-57 and again during 1958-59 and was one of the most respected British jazzers of the era, recording with the likes of Nelson Riddle on the July 1962 recording 'Vic Lewis Swings Nelson Riddle'.As the 60s moved on, Lewis set himself up as a booking agent and his first client was jazz pianist/comedian Dudley. In 1965 he sold his agency to Brian Epstein, The Beatles' manager, and gained a seat on the board of NEMS, Epstein’s company. When Epstein died in 1967, Lewis became managing director, overseeing the careers of stars such as Elton John and Cilla Black. Lewis went on to represent many other pop stars, including Robin Gibb and produced tracks on Gibb’s 1970 solo album ‘Robin’s Reign’ during Robin’s brief split from his brothers. Lewis was an avid cricketer and established his own cricket club. Between 1976 and 2001, he also served as a General Committee Member of Middlesex County Cricket Club. In 1987 Lewis published an autobiography, Music and Maiden Overs and collaborated with Robert Feather on a collection of photographs, My Life in Jazz, published in 2007. Vic Lewis was appointed MBE in 2007 and died 9th February 2009.This album was recorded half away in California, using a selection of top American jazz musicians, and the other half at home in London featuring some of the finest jazzmen in England. Most of the musicians in both the American and the English sessions have played under Vic’s baton before. The American musicians played with Vic when the guest conducted the Stan Kenton Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 1950, and several of the British musicians have played with the Lewis band at one time or another.