A Posthumous Tribute to a Man About Bass: Derrick Lewis

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Derrick Lewis

By Jourdan King

Houston Jazz bassist Derrick Lewis, who played in local restaurants and bars for around 40 years as well as internationally throughout Europe, passed this August during a tragic bicycle accident.

 Lewis was well known throughout the Jazz community here in Houston.

“He played all the top bass Jazz.” said good friend David Cutaia “When you needed a jazz bass player in Houston he was one of the first ones to be called.”

Although he was born in Washington, D.C., Lewis’ father was in the United States Air Force which enabled his family to travel around the world.

“He grew up in Libya.” Said Cutaia “He grew up in India; he said he could see the Taj Mahal from his window.” Lewis also lived in Bankok, Thailand. When he moved back to the United States Lewis attended Rice University where he graduated with a degree in Psychology, but his passion was always deeply rooted in music. Lewis worked at a local record store but eventually quit to pursue his music career.

“He started with electric then switched to upright.” said Cutaia “He struggled for a while but became very talented and one of the best bass players here.”

Backstreet Cafe - Houston

“He was incredibly talented.” Said Backstreet Café manager  Allan Koziol.

In Lewis’ musical endeavors he traveled and did several international (European) tours with Arnett Cobb and David Newman. He also played with the likes of Teddy Wilson, the Benny Goodman Band, Lyle Lovette, Woody Shaw and other musical icons.

“He recorded with Dizzy Gillespie,” said Cutaia “he was on Dizzy’s last album.”

In addition to playing with other great musical artists Lewis also played for several local orchestras including the University of Houston Orchestra and the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra.

Unfortunately, on August 25th, 2012 Lewis was accidently struck by a car while riding his bicycle in the third ward area near the University of Houston. When brought to the hospital he was unresponsive and was later pronounced dead.

 “It [the music] faded into the background a bit because people really came to dine.” said Koziol “But it was a kind of thing that brought people back week after week because they really enjoyed the atmosphere.”

Jourdan King is a journalist, entrepreneur and Houston based beauty.  Visit Jourdan's website at :  http://www.stacksandstilettos.com/


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