Alan Bio (Long)

Alan Lewine is a bassist and composer currently living in the Philadelphia region.  Alan founded Owlsong Productions in 1982, and released the first Owlsong album, Alan Lewine Septet: Original Jazz, in 1986. Alan has performed and recorded all over the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

Primarily a jazz musician, his influences and experiences include all forms of music – he has studied and played for example medieval Sephardic and Indonesian Gamelan, delta blues and afropop, flamenco and various fusions of the above, as well as all styles of jazz from trad to avant garde, and some classical.

Alan began playing string bass in 1978. He studied piano as a child, and later minored in composition and arranging at University when in his late 20s, while playing jazz gigs to put himself through school. Primarily a self-taught bassist, Alan learned from the more experienced musicians on every instrument with whom he had the good fortune to play.  The mentorship of Milt Hinton early in his career was a large boost.  When he lived in Oregon in the early 90s, he had the opportunity to hang with and learn from Leroy “Walkin” Vinnegar.  Alan has received “green room” lessons, counsel and encouragement from the likes of Ray Brown, Harvie S, Major Holley, Lynn Seaton, John Clayton and Bruce Gertz.

Alan’s first recordings were released in the mid-1980s and have received excellent reviews.<link to media/press/reviews page>.  Besides leading his own ensembles such as the Alan Lewine Xtet, the PDXtet, the Red Hot Peppers and others, Lewine has been an in-demand sideman for touring musicians and 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, Dick Berk, Mel Brown (Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, etc.), Mose Allison, Butch Miles (Basie, Brubeck, Ella, etc.), Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Roy Hargrove, Jim Pepper and Bill Mays, and old masters like Gus Johnson, Sweets Edison (Count Basie), Mickey Roker (Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, etc.), Stephane Grapelli (Django Reinhart), Carl Fontana (Tonight Show Band) and many others. Once in the 80s he played duets with the immortal Charlie Haden, an experience that made a deep and lasting impression. Lewine minored in music composition as an undergrad and has also studied traditional Ghanaian (Ewe) percussion and performed with Obo Addy and Balinese gamelan with I Nyoman Suadin, flamenco with Julián Vaquero and Victor Monge, and traditional country Delta and Piedmont blues with Johnny Never (including as bassist on the 2012 release Johnny Never and the Soular Pimps: Never Home <link>). He has also played occasional bluegrass and “jazzgrass” gigs (remembering his WV roots) with Sam Bush, Alan Munde, Slim Richey and others.

After spending 18 years working as a full-time gigging musician around the Southwest and later Northwest US, Alan “dropped out” in 1994, went to law school, and worked as a transactional and policy attorney with some of the world's most significant television, telecoms and cable companies until 2016 with his music everpresent but on the back-burner. He recently retired from that sideline and returned his focus to his music from his current base in the Philadelphia region but reaching around the world.

During 2016 through 2018, Ana María and Alan Lewine undertook multiple successful tours of Cuba, performing in Havana at the Salon Lecuona of the Gran Teatro de la Habana, the Sala Teatral of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Museo de la Música, introducing Sephardic Treasures (Tesoros Sefardíes) at the Sinagoga Centro Hebreo Sefaradi in Vedado, the Auditorio of the Biblioteca Nacional “José Marti” in Havana, and in Santiago de Cuba at the Museo de la Música and Club Iris Jazz.

Alan’s current projects, besides producing the programs of Ana María Ruimonte, include writing arrangements for the soon to be recorded Alan Lewine Xtet: Jazzes for Lecuona, a set of originals and jazz arrangements based on the music of Cuba’s greatest composer, Ernesto Lecuona; finishing production of Sephardic Treasures, a new CD from Soprano meets Bass, his joint ensemble with Ana María including Spanish flamenco guitarist Julián Vaquero, and Spanish flamenco and jazz percussionist Victor Monge, Israeli percussionist Shai Wetzler, jazz trumpeter Duane Eubanks, Israeli flutist Hadar Noiberg, Spanish pianist Chano Dominguez and other special guests in an exciting fusion of medieval/jazz/classical/flamenco/mid-eastern music; preparing to record Alan Lewine Xtet: Original Jazz 2019; and performing baroque cello parts on his double bass as part of the baroque chamber orchestra accompanying Ana María’s multimedia bilingual theatrical spectacular, El Carro del Amor.  He is looking forward to a return to Cuba in November 2019 as an invited guest performer accompanying Ana María for the Festival de la Música Contemporánea, and in January 202 with the Alan Lewine Xtet at Cuba’s great annual Festival Internacional Jazz Plaza.

Alan’s primary instrument is a beautiful-sounding (if oversized) German Mittenwald 7/8 bass made probably between 1820 and 1850.  He uses Kolstein Heritage strings, Acoustic Image amplification (when needed) and a David Gage original Realist pickup.  His airline travel bass is an Eminence with a Realist pickup.

 

Awards

Over a dozen NM-MIC (New Mexico Music Industry Coalition) nominations in the late 1980s for best album (jazz), best composition (jazz), album of the year, best producer (jazz), best cover song (jazz), etc.

2017 Nominee as producer for the prize Cubadisco (Cuba’s “grammy”) based on a limited Cuban pre-release of Ana María Ruimonte: Rosas para Lecuona, produced by Alan.