Vel Lewis

Vel Lewis

Musicians | Instrument: Organ, Hammond B3 | Location: Houston

Updated: January 6, 2024

Born: November 30, 1954

Vel Lewis (legal name is Velbert Lewis, Jr.) is an American contemporary jazz musician born on November 30, 1954, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His primary instrument of choice is the Hammond organ; however he also plays piano, synthesizer keyboards, drums, and electric bass guitar.

He began his music career in 1965 as a 1st soprano vocalist with the Philadelphia All-Boys Choir under the direction of Dr. Carlton J. Lake. He attended Settlement Music School for vocal/piano training. He also began studies on concert flute. In 1966, he switched from flute to organ, and advanced to 1st soprano soloist in the Philadelphia All-Boys Choir Small Ensemble group. In 1967, he traveled with the Philadelphia All-Boys Choir Small Ensemble to Montreal, Canada and appeared at Expo ’67 as lead soloist. In 1968, he continued organ studies on the Hammond organ with Mr. Milton Myers, then with Dr. E. Woodley Kalehoff, Sr., White House pianist to U.S. President Harry Truman in 1969 for three years. He attended Overbrook High School between 1969 and 1972. During these years, he performed on a televised jazz program playing organ with drummer Gerry Brown and bassist John Lee, and recorded Hammond organ on gospel recording sessions for ABC's Peacock Record label with producer Ira Tucker, Sr. for albums by groups known as The Sensational Nightingales, The Gospelaires, and The Dixie Hummingbirds. In 1972, he was under recording contract with Philadelphia International Records, performing with a vocal group known as "The Futures". The group was known for their single, "Love Is Here".

In 1973, he performed and traveled with another vocal group known as "The Delfonics" and co-wrote and sang the opening lead vocal on a song released in 1974 on the Warner Bros. Reprise label entitled "Tell Me Why" by The Life Group, also known as "Life". In 1990, he co-produced songs with Tom Borton on Borton's albums "Dancing With Tigers" and "The Lost World", released on the Mesa/Bluemoon Records label.

In 1995, he began composing music as a songwriter for Los Angeles Post Music, a production music library founded by Tom Borton. LA Post Music's tracks appear on popular TV shows "Sex And The City", "Friends", "Mad About You", and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". Between the years 2003 through 2005, he performed on a World Tour with legendary singer Dionne Warwick. In 2005, he released his first solo debut album "All Wound Up" under the stage name of Shady Grady.

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F2F Music Foundation forms partnership with Gilbreath Communications to promote opportunities to aspiring young musicians

F2F Music Foundation forms partnership with Gilbreath Communications to promote opportunities to aspiring young musicians

Source: All About Jazz

Can improvisation be taught? According to F2F Music Foundation, the answer is a definite yes. F2F Music Foundation, a Houston area-based non-profit performing arts organization, is teaming up with Gilbreath Communications, Inc., to encourage young people to pursue their full potential musically and academically. Gilbreath will act as F2F’s public relations arm to inform young people and their parents about opportunities available through F2F. Founded by renowned contemporary jazz musician Vel Lewis, F2F works with local non-profit organizations and schools ...

“So different and funky and refreshing. I'll be sure to play this song in days to come. It's special! Not a lot of artists tackle "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." A favorite of mine - and to hear it done like this is a gift.” - Trish Hennessey, Hybrid Jazz From Trish Hennessey

“LOVE IT!!!!! Thank you!!! You just made my day…” - Annie Latin Jazzy Rodriguez of “Up Close & Personal with Latin Jazzy”

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen . . . guaranteed to be a classic and something you'll want to hear each holiday season.” – Guy Michaels of “The J-Spot” TV show and KPVU 91.3 FM Morning Show, Houston Tony Currie, Director of Programmes, Radio Six International Glasgow, Scotland

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Primary Instrument

Organ, Hammond B3



Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


School District of Philadelphia (1973 - 1978): Teacher aide (Learning Disability), Title I Reading aide (2nd - 4th grades), Alternative school (7th - 9th grades) Professional musician since 1969

Jimmy Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Billy Hawks
organ, Hammond B3
Jack McDuff
organ, Hammond B3
Chester Thompson
organ, Hammond B3
James Brown


Management and booking

Contact: Colorsound, LLC

Phone: (323) 684-4911

Email: [email protected]


Papa's Strut

From: Papa's Strut
By Vel Lewis

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

From: Colors Of Soul - single
By Vel Lewis