John Aaron Lewis, 3 May 1920, LaGrange, Illinois, USA, d. 29 March 2001, New York City, New York, USA. A formally trained pianist from a very early age, Lewis studied music and anthropology at the University of New Mexico. first took an interest in jazz after meeting Kenny Clarke. In 1946, both men joined Dizzy Gillespies big band with Lewis writing charts in addition to his rhythm section duties. In the late 40s and early 50s, Lewis continued his musical studies and also accompanied numerous important jazz artists including Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Milt Jackson. His association with Jackson continued with their group taking the name, the Modern Jazz Quartet, in 1954. The MJQ stayed in existence until 1974 after which Lewis turned to teaching. In the late 80s the Modern Jazz Quartet re-formed and Lewis also worked with his own sextet and as musical director of the American Jazz Orchestra, a group especially dedicated to the performance of big band...
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