In the mid-twentieth century, American jazz clarinetist George Lewis stood as a symbol of the New Orleans jazz tradition, but his fame came later in life than most. The Fabulous George Lewis Band, tells the fascinating story of Lewis’s dramatic reversal of fortune through a dialogue between Nick Gagliano, Lewis’s manager for much of his career, and Barry Martyn, a London-born drummer who worked with Lewis and many other New Orleans jazz musicians over his long career. Together, they remember Lewis, offer personal perspectives on the man and his music, and set the record straight on a number of important issues relating to his business and personal life. They reveal how black musicians such as Lewis sought and achieved dignity as artists despite the obstacles that racism placed in their way. Perhaps most importantly, they demonstrate the enduring magnetism of a musician whose idiosyncratic combination of lyrical majesty on his instrument and innate modesty as a performer captured the hearts and minds of jazz lovers the world over.
Accompanied by a CD featuring the best of Lewis’s music, The Fabulous George Lewis Band offers a poignant, intimate portrait of one of great jazz musicians of the twentieth century.