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Lewis Porter

Lewis Porter (PhD, Brandeis, 1983) is a jazz pianist, composer (of everything from leadsheets to works for orchestra and soloists), an author, a Professor of Music at Rutgers University in Newark since 1986, and founder and director of the Master's Program in Jazz History and Research there since Fall 1997. A leading scholar and historian of all eras of jazz, he has dedicated his career to raising the standards of jazz scholarship, and to mentoring young scholars worldwide and in his Master's program. Before 1986, he taught full-time at Tufts, and part-time at Brandeis (while earning his PhD there in music history, which he received in 1983). He has also taught part-time at the New School, Manhattan School of Music, Jazz At Lincoln Center, and as a guest at numerous colleges in the US and Europe. He is an author or coauthor of seven books and numerous articles on jazz, and a consultant to record producers, publishers, and producers of jazz radio shows and films. He is a frequent guest on radio (NPR, WNYC, WBGO, etc.), often quoted in print (NY Times, Star Ledger, etc.) and occasionally appears on TV and film (BET, BBC). He was Jazz Talk moderator for 2006-9 at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where he organized and led four panels a year. He made numerous media appearances in 2005 about his role in researching and releasing the Monk/Coltrane Carnegie Hall recording. He was nominated for a Grammy in 1996 (under Best Historical Reissue) for his role in producing the boxed set of Coltrane's Atlantic Recordings. Dr. Porter has performed extensively as a pianist—check out VIDEOS where you will see him with Dave Liebman and others. Under MUSIC you will find information about his CDs, and audio samples. The critics rave: "A HELLUVA PIANO PLAYER" (Jazz Times). "(Porter plays) with a lively glitter and amazing sense of assurance." "Mixing experimental with traditional, (he) plays up a storm." "Porter is a deep thinker (whose music is) founded upon depth and cunning use of space." He is also increasingly active as a composer, not only for jazz combos but for larger groups—his three-movement concerto for saxophone and orchestra will be performed by Dave Liebman at Harvard U, April 19, 2012. He is accepting commissions for more such works. These are not "jazz arrangements," but original through-composed pieces influenced by the language of Stravinsky and Prokofiev, as well as jazz.

His first book, Lester Young (1985), appeared in a revised edition in 2005 (University of Michigan Press), with an added photo section and CD guide. Porter edited A Lester Young Reader, coauthored Jazz: From Its Origins to the Present (with Michael Ullman, and Ed Hazell; Prentice-Hall,1992), compiled an anthology of historical articles and his own essays (Jazz: A Century of Change, Schirmer Books, 1997), edited The John Coltrane Reference (Routledge 2008), and published the acclaimed study John Coltrane: His Life and Music (University of Michigan Press, Jan. 1998; Italian and French editions, 2007). The latter book won the 1999 Jazz Research Award from the Association of Recorded Sound Collections, and the Prix du livre de Jazz ("Best Jazz Book of the Year") from the Academy of Jazz in Paris. He is editor of Dave Liebman's autobiography which will be out at the end of 2011. Under PUBLICATIONS you will find more info about these and more.

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Album Review

Allen Lowe: A Love Supine: Ascension into the Maelstrom

Read "A Love Supine: Ascension into the Maelstrom" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

There is an exhaustive property to the body of Allen Lowe's work. Composer, saxophonist, sporadic guitarist who composes on piano, and the author of several noteworthy music histories, he has released nearly two dozen albums. Lowe is a member of the quartet East Axis with Matthew Shipp, Gerald Cleaver, and Kevin Ray. A Love Supine: Ascension into the Maelstrom is an ambitious double-disc collection recorded in four sessions in 2018. The eighteen tracks were all composed by Lowe. The sessions ...

Radio & Podcasts

Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Porter and More

Read "Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Porter and More" reviewed by Joe Dimino

The 587th Episode of Neon Jazz is ushered in by the sounds of Lewis Porter on the keys and followed by those of his friend Dizzy Gillespie. From there, we look into Kansas City-born, New York-based trumpeter Dave Scott with a cut off his new CD In Search of Hipness. We then move on to the world of Kansas City singer Bukeka Blakemore and pay our respects to both Andre Previn and Ed Bickert. Finally, we give listeners a look ...

Album Review

Lewis Porter: Piano Solo

Read "Piano Solo" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

The solo format is, quite often, a window into an artist's soul. For Lewis Porter, performing all by his lonesome at the piano, it also serves as a showcase for a tripartite balancing act between patience, impulse, and calculated intellect. In an autonomous state, left to his own devices and desires, this pianist-scholar produces music that's as much about respecting a moment as it is about developing it. This hour-long studio session finds Porter taking liberties with ...

Album Review

Lewis Porter: Beauty & Mystery

Read "Beauty & Mystery" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

A somber, modern/Romanticist solo piano “Prologue" beautifully opens jazz scholar, historian, and accomplished pianist Lewis Porter's Beauty & Mystery, his fourth disc as a session leader. Accompanied throughout this often inspired recording by bassist John Pattitucci, sought after Grammy-winner and frequent trio companion drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and high-flying, rep-rising saxophonist Tia Fuller, Porter unleashes his vast knowledge of John Coltrane, and the multitude of jazz avenues on a frothy mix of original covers and time tested covers. ...

Multiple Reviews

A Pair From Lewis Porter: Beauty & Mystery/Three Minutes To Four

Read "A Pair From Lewis Porter: Beauty & Mystery/Three Minutes To Four" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Lewis Porter is living proof that the marriage of a wide knowledge base and an open mind makes for a beautifully creative whole. As an esteemed author, a revered academic, a highly respected composer, and a first-rate pianist, Porter operates from a unique, variable-angle vantage point occupied by few others. He knows from whence this music came, he's able to arrange his thoughts in clear-headed fashion, he has a thirst for knowledge and a desire to explore the unknown, and ...


Lewis Porter on John Coltrane

Read "Lewis Porter on John Coltrane" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

The following interview with Lewis Porter, author of John Coltrane: His life and Music, was conducted by telephone on April 15, 2000. I am indebted to Dr. Porter for taking the time from his exceptionally busy schedule as musician, writer, teacher, and father to share his views with us. All About Jazz: It's indeed an honor to interview you, Dr. Porter. Just to get us started, could you tell us your favorite albums and books about jazz, ...

Catching Up With

Catching Up With Lewis Porter

Read "Catching Up With Lewis Porter" reviewed by Jeffery S. McMillan

On April 19, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. in Paine Hall on the Harvard University campus, jazz pianist, composer, educator, and author, Lewis Porter's Concerto for Saxophone will receive its world premiere with jazz icon Dave Liebman as the soloist:Dr. Porter was kind enough to answer some questions about the piece and his collaborations with Liebman:All About Jazz: Your achievements as a scholar and educator are tremendous. You have been a Professor of Music at Rutgers University ...

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Performance / Tour

Lewis Porter Trio Plus Special Guests at Trumpets Friday, October 26th

Lewis Porter Trio Plus Special Guests at Trumpets Friday, October 26th

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

Lewis Porter Trio PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS 10/26, 8:30-1am (three sets), $15, at Trumpets 6 Depot Square Montclair, NJ 973-744-2600 What The Press Is Saying About Lewis Porter's Latest CD: Porter-Di Castri-Sferra Trio Italian Encounter Lewis Porter-piano, Furio DiCastri-bass, Fabrizio Sferra-drums Altrisuoni AS222 Street Date: September 1, 2007 Ana Isabel Ordonez writes: “Anchored by a bold Italian rhythm section, famous New Jersey based pianist Lewis ...


Performance / Tour

Lewis Porter September Gigs with Ravi Coltrane and More at Big Apple Jazz

Lewis Porter September Gigs with Ravi Coltrane and More at Big Apple Jazz

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

The noted pianist, author and educator Lewis Porter has curated an exciting range of jazz groups for September that will bring new musicians and new audiences to Big Apple Jazz / EZ's Woodshed. The goal is to make this Harlem retreat a “destination" for jazz fans throughout the city. Big Apple Jazz has a delightful coffee-house atmosphere with burgers, fish, soft drinks and desserts available, as well as jazz CDs and books and other gifts--you can bring your own wine ...


Performance / Tour

Lewis Porter Trio at Big Apple Jazz Friday, August 10th 8:30-11PM

Lewis Porter Trio at Big Apple Jazz Friday, August 10th 8:30-11PM

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

Friday, August 10 at Big Apple at 8:30-11pm, $10: Lewis Porter (synthesizer) returns to Big Apple Jazz with the fabulous drummer Rudy Royston, a bassist Ryan Berg, and SPECIAL GUESTS. We really want a good crowd at this one. I am trying to help Big Apple to become a “destination" for jazz lovers. What's not to like?: Big Apple is a delightful coffee-house atmosphere with burgers, fish, soft drinks and desserts available, as well as jazz CDs and books and ...


Performance / Tour

Lewis Porter / Dan Faulk Duo @ Lily Pad 17 March

Lewis Porter / Dan Faulk Duo @ Lily Pad 17 March

Source: All About Jazz

s u b c o n s c i o u s c a f e @ l i l y p a d 1353 Cambridge St. Cambridge, Mass. 617.388.1168 ~ ALL AGES ~ lily-pad.net/ Friday, 17 March 2006 9:30 - 11:30 $15 or b/o rob chalfen & subconsciouscafe new chamber music presents LEWIS PORTER / DAN FAULK DUO LEWIS PORTER - piano DAN FAULK - tenor & soprano sax subconsciouscafe is proud to ...


Book / Magazine

Send Your Bio for Lewis Porter's Encyclopedia

Send Your Bio for Lewis Porter's Encyclopedia

Source: All About Jazz

Updated: September 23, 2004 The deadline for this project has come and gone. Please do not reply to this solicitation.


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Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


LESSONS WITH LEW (IN PERSON OR BY SKYPE) Over the years I have collected information from many leading musicians, both jazz and classical, about technique and improvisation. At this stage in my life I find that I am able to sift through and organize the best information out there, as well as what my own experience can offer, to create individual practice plans for other musicians that are highly efficient and that facilitate rapid and substantive musical progress. My price is $100 per lesson (a "generous" hour—often a bit more than one hour). I often provide the student with PDFs of notated music to practice between lessons (no extra fee for this). I live in Port Chester, NY, but I also now offer lessons and tutorials worldwide using Skype or iChat. You aim your laptop at your piano or keyboard and I am able to see everything—I have a keyboard here where I demonstrate things. Same price of $100 per lesson, payable through Paypal. Some musicians choose to take an occasional lesson (for example, when i happen to be in Boston for gigs), while others like a regular time of once or twice a month etc. Whatever works for you is fine with me.

Clinic/Workshop Information

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