The Alan Lewine Xtet offers a program of Lewine’s compositions and arrangements. Leading with his string bass, the Xtet includes piano, drums, and often Cuban percussion and one or more horn players. Swinging hard, it’s straight-ahead jazz heavily spiced with influences from around the world, including flamenco, Balinese gamelan, Afro-pop, Afro-Cubano, Latin jazz, Brazilian samba, etc. The Xtet has performed in concert in Santiago and Havana Cuba; Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York, USA; and in Europe in Spain, Holland and Belgium.
In August 2019, the Alan Lewine Xtet, made up for the occasion of a trio with the fabulous and renowned Bill Mays on piano and Tim Froncek on drums, was honored to be featured at the biennial international convention of the International Society of Bassists at the University of Indiana in Bloomington.
In January 2020, Alan traveled to Havana and formed a special Xtet with Cuban musicians Jesus Pupo, Pablo Cruz and visiting from Costa Rica Andres Obando. They were featured at the 35th Jazz Plaza International Festival of Jazz with 5 featured concerts in Havana. This Cuban ensemble also went into the studio and we expect a new release of Lewine compositions soon.
You can find videos from each of these programs on our YouTube channel.
The Alan Lewine Xtet also offers a program of Lewine’s arrangements of some the songs of Cuba’s great composer, Ernesto Lecuona, arranged in Alan’s unique original jazz style. Swinging hard with added Cuban-style percussion, it’s a stew of straight-ahead jazz spiced with an authentic Cuban flavor. Jazzes for Lecuona has been performed several times, in Santiago de Cuba, Baltimore MD and Philadelphia PA. There are a full set of charts, and we expect to record and release this down the road.
You can find the video of the Santiago de Cuba concert with an ensemble of local musicians on our YouTube channel.
Original Jazz concert at the 30th Jazz Plaza Festival Internacional, recorded at Teatro America, Havana, 19 January 2020. Leading with his string bass, the Xtet generally includes piano and or guitar, drums, usually Cuban percussion and often one to several horn players. Swinging hard, it’s straight-ahead jazz spiced with an authentic Cuban flavor. The Xtet has presented this unique program in concert in Santiago and Havana Cuba, US in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York.
Entire 35 minute concert
Released in 1991, this album featured master guitarist Bob Brown and some of his compositions as well as standards and some of Alan’s pieces including two solo bass performances. They were joined in the studio by drum stalwart Cal Haines, multi-woodwind player Arlen Asher and other superb musicians. In 2020, we remastered Freewheeling and made it available on our Bandcamp page at https://owlsong.bandcamp.com.
The Xtet story grew out of the 1985 concert memorialized in this album, Alan’s first, featuring a four horn section and piano and bass to form a “little big band” playing Alan’s original compositions. In 2020, we remastered Original Jazz and made it available on our Bandcamp page at https://owlsong.bandcamp.com.
Alan Lewine is a bassist, composer and producer based in Philadelphia and the founder of Owlsong Productions in 1982. He has performed and recorded all over the world, with many of the greats of jazz. His musical efforts have included all styles of jazz, blues, Afropop, salsa, samba, and Balinese gamelan as well as contemporary classical and flamenco-influenced music. Alan has been an officer and served on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bassists since 2011 and on the Board of the Jazz Bridge Project since 2016. Besides his multiple recordings as a leader and more as a sideman for a variety of renowned ar:sts, he has produced numerous classical and jazz recordings.
Alan has been an in-demand sideman for touring musicians making numerous appearances with “alto madness” saxophonist Richie Cole in the 1980s. He has also performed with clarinetists Eddie Daniels and Kenny Davern, sax masters including among others Joe Henderson, Clifford Jordan, Les McCann, Henry Threadgill, Jim Pepper and Vinnie Golia, vocalists such as Anita O’Day, Sheila Jordan and Mose Allison, pianists including Ronnie Matthews and Bill Mays, drummers Gus Johnson, Mickey Roker, Mel Brown and Butch Miles, guitarists such as Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis, Roy Hargrove, and old masters like trumpeter Sweets Edison, Django Reinhardt violinist Stephane Grappelli, and longtime Tonight Show trombonist Carl Fontana and many others. Once in the 80s he played duets with Charlie Haden, an experience that made a deep and lasting impression.
Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963) was a prolific composer of songs and music for stage and film. His works integrated African and Cuban rhythms with classical, pop and jazz. Many songs are still very famous throughout the Spanish speaking world. In 1942, Siempre en mi Corazón (Always in my Heart) received an Oscar nomination for Best Song. Among his many hits, Malagueña, Andalucia (The Breeze and I), and Siboney are perhaps best known in the US. Ernesto Lecuona lived his final years mostly in the U.S. and is buried near New York City.