Alan Lewine Bassist and Composer

Alan Lewine, leader, bassist, and composer of the Alan Lewine Xtet, currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona from Philadelphia. Also the founder of Owlsong Productions (in 1982 while preparing a Thelonious Monk memorial concert in Taos NM), Lewine has performed and recorded all over the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Latin America. His influences include not just jazz, but all forms of music from Gamelan to flamenco, Zappa to Xenakis. Eclectic? Yes, and reviews have yielded high praise of the impact of these varied influences on Sephardic Treasures.

The main focus of his 40+ year career has been jazz, but Alan has performed with afropop and Latin music stars as well as classical, gamelan, Mexican, rockabilly, bluegrass, flamenco, and klezmer notables in major and minor cities throughout the US and in several other countries. Alan studied piano as a child, and later studied composition and arranging at the University of New Mexico. Mainly an autodidact, Milt Hinton was a mentor early in his career. Other important bass mentors have been Ray Brown, John Clayton, Lynn Seaton, Bruce Gertz, and Leroy Vinnegar. Alan also played and studied traditional Ghanaian (Ewe) percussion with Obo Addy and Balinese gamelan gong kebyar with I Nyoman Suadin, flamenco with Julián Vaquero and Víctor Monge, and traditional country blues with Johnny Never. Alan has worked with many of the great names in jazz over the years, including Eddie Daniels, Kenny Davern, Richie Cole, Joe Henderson, Clifford Jordan, Henry Threadgill, Vinnie Golia, Anita O’Day, Sheila Jordan, Mose Allison, Butch Miles, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Roy Hargrove, and old masters like Gus Johnson, Bo Diddley, Sweets Edison, Mickey Roker, Stéphane Grappelli, and many others.

Alan has appeared on 18 releases as leader, sideman, or producer since the mid-1980s. His very first release, Alan Lewine Septet: Original Jazz, recorded at a 1985 concert appearance, garnered awards and rave reviews in multiple publications, and formed the originating idea for the Alan Lewine Xtet. In January 2020, Alan’s compositions and his Alan Lewine Xtet were featured at the 35th Jazz Plaza international festival of jazz in Havana.

As part of Soprano Meets Bass with Ana María Ruimonte, he also helped develop and plays in the programs Nine Centuries of Music in About An Hour as well as Sephardic Treasures. They have performed these programs and others in Israel, Cuba, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands as well as throughout the United States.

Also a scholar, Alan taught music theory from a jazz perspective at Portland State University in Oregon and has written about ethnomusicology and the history and anthropology of various jazz styles and the music of the Sephardic diaspora. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the International Society of Bassists and Philadelphia’s Jazz Bridge Project.

Alan’s primary instrument is an early 19th-century Mittenwald bass. He uses Kolstein Heritage strings and Kolstein rosin, and when amplification is required he uses Acoustic Image amplifiers and a Planet Wing pickup.

News

October 1, 2020
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Albums

Soprano Meets Bass – Sephardic Treasures

Release Date: July 24, 2020
Catalog Number: AR0015
21st Century
Folk Music
Jazz
Vocal Music
Guitar
Violin
Voice
SOPRANO MEETS BASS is the latest from Ansonica Records. This album of traditional medieval Sephardic songs arranged by jazz bassist and music director Alan Lewine and classical soprano Ana María Ruimonte is an ethnomusicological celebration of the ancient Sephardic culture. These Spanish Jews were expelled from Spain in the 15th Century and resettled throughout the world, mingling their musical traditions with those of other peoples they encountered. The original arrangements meld medieval Moorish Iberia, jazz, flamenco, Middle Eastern music, and bel canto. They have set these songs in a sort of recombinant world fusion reflecting a vibrant embodiment of the Sephardic communities and their culture.
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