3rd Annual John Lewis Celebration
3rd Annual John Lewis Celebration: The Genius of John Lewis
It’s time for Albuquerque to honor one of our own who became perhaps the most influential musician/composer in modern jazz.
Raised in the South Broadway neighborhood, John graduated from Albuquerque High School and attended UNM prior to being drafted in 1942. After serving in Europe, he returned in 1945 and was advised to head to New York City to study at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, where he earned his BA and MA.
Touring Europe with Dizzy Gillespie’s orchestra, he returned to tour with Ella Fitzgerald, and worked with Miles Davis and Lester Young, among others. He was a prolific composer and wrote several film scores, including one for his good friend, Harry Belafonte, for the film noir “Odds Against Tomorrow.”
In 1952 John and three other musicians formed the Modern Jazz Quartet, the most famous, long-lived and respected groups in the world of modern jazz. They became worldwide sensations and played together for 22 years. John Lewis then founded the American Jazz Orchestra and toured the US playing “the music of our country,” with special focus on the music of a man who inspired him to become a musician, Duke Ellington.
John Lewis was a giant in the world of modern jazz. After his death he was honored as someone who had been part of the community by naming the theater at South Broadway Cultural Center after him. In 2014, South Broadway Cultural Center held the 1st Annual John Lewis Celebration to honor this great man and talented musician. During his career he returned to Albuquerque often and the Modern Jazz Quartet performed here several times.
The evening will include a visual presentation of his life and music, including video segments of the Modern Jazz Quartet live in performances internationally, and great jazz by the Douglas Cardwell Trio, with songstress Tracey Whitney. Pianist/vocalist Daniel Cummings will perform music from John’s early life. A segment of the program will feature members of his family sharing memories of John.
Let’s celebrate! Enjoy an evening of great live entertainment, and the opportunity to learn more about the life and musical heritage of John Lewis. A reception will follow the event