Charles Lewis was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
in 1933. He began performing on piano at church functions when he was
only 7 years old. Some of his earliest musical influences include Oscar
Peterson, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gelespie, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker
and Nat King Cole.
Charles moved to Arizona in 1953 when he enrolled at Arizona State University.
He began performing at the famous 7th Ave. Elks Club jams in 1954. He
played with several bands before forming his own band, The Charles Lewis
Quintet. He landed a gig at the Playboy Club in Phoenix in 1961.
He eventually began getting grants from major organizations
to conduct workshops. He performed "self awareness through music"
seminars for the Bureau of Indian affairs, the Dept. of Corrections
and many other organizations. He's also done workshops on the relationship
of music to colors, textures and linear shapes for the National Alliance
for Arts Education. He has served on the Arizona Com. on the Arts, the
Music advisory panel for the National endowment for the arts in Washington,
DC and many other prestigious panels.
He teaches privately in the areas of jazz piano, harmony
and theory, jazz improvisation and vocal performance. He considers his
crowning achievements to be the work he's done doing musical workshops
for children. He says he loves living in Arizona
because of the peace he has found in the wide open spaces and the relatively
slower pace of life in the desert.