Vince Lewis

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Vince Lewis
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Birth nameRichard Vincent Lewis
Born (1948-11-13) November 13, 1948 (age 75)
  • Musician
  • Professor
  • Composer
InstrumentsGuitar, Bass
Years active1964–present
LabelsLady Sabre Publishing, Red House Music, Vince Lewis Music, Maddy Winer Music, Redstone Jazz, JMP Records, Noteworthy Jazz, Vinbara Music

Richard Vincent Lewis (Nov 13, 1948 - ) is an American Jazz Guitarist and Educator who has worked extensively in the music entertainment industry as a Performer, Composer, Critic, Session Musician and Arranger. He is also an internationally known Jazz Educator and authored the popular Target Tones Improvisation course for Jazz Guitarists.

He has over 1000 nationally published CD, Method Book and Product reviews. Vince also has many arrangements for solo Jazz Guitar published in Just Jazz Guitar.[1] and Jazz Guitar Today Magazine, where he is currently a regular and popular contributor. He also has product endorsements from Heritage Guitar Inc, Breedlove Guitars, Benedetto Guitars, Eastman Guitars, Conti Guitars and the SIT String Company. New Zealand Luthier Richard Ralston has produced a Vince Lewis Signature Jazz Guitar as well[2]

Early life and education

The son of a journalist and registered nurse, Lewis started his formal music training at 5 years old with local teacher Bob Whitlock. He attended Sacred Heart Grade School and Charleston Catholic High School before studying Music Education at Morris Harvey College and Marshall University. Vince worked his way through school by private teaching, playing several nights a week in nightclubs and managing Guitar Departments in local retail Music Stores.


Vince became a professional musician at 14 years of age when he joined Musicians Local 136 in Charleston, WV. He was a member of the Ned Guthrie Orchestra, the Dennis Reaser Trio, and the Dave Baber Trio among the most popular bands of the day in the region. He was mentored early on by top Jazz players such as Hubert S. (Rabbit) Jones, Billy Saunders, and Ann Baker. He was also a contemporary of one of the world’s top drummers Butch Miles and they worked extensively together in their developmental years. Vince also performed regularly with pianist Bob Thompson and was a fixture in the Charleston nightclub scene as well as the afterhours jam sessions at The Crazy Horse and The Palm Gardens. He was the original leader of the house band for the NPR show Mountain Stage pilot program billed as “Vince Lewis and The WV Little Symphony.” He had moved out of State prior to the show being picked up for National syndication.

In 1981 Lewis left his position at Marshall University to play full-time in Palm Beach, FL with a pianist who was Carol Channing’s former Musical Director. He was with that trio for 3 months before being selected as the solo guitarist in the new Palm Beach PGA National Resort private Explorer’s Club. After a successful stint there he became a music contractor and one of the most popular first call club date, Jazz performer, recording session and Show players in South Florida. He played festivals and concerts with Pete Minger, Bobby Rosengarden, Duffy Jackson, Johnny Mince, Billy Butterfield, Billy Maxted, and numerous others. He was guitarist with trumpet great Don Goldie for 3 ½ years, and guitarist for vocalist Kay Stevens. Major acts he appeared with include Bob Hope, Don Rickles, Eddie Fisher, Kathy Lee Gifford, Julie Budd, Don Johnson, Donna Mills, Lorne Green, Buddy Ebsen and the Lettermen. He also was guitarist for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. and Brook Benton. His Big Band resume includes Cab Calloway, Marshall Grant, Lester Lanin, Peter Duchin, Warren Covington and The Pied Pipers, Les Elgart, Bo Thorpe and Mike Carney.

In 1991 Lewis recorded his first album as a leader entitled “Makin’ A Move.” It was comprised of all original compositions and won 2 Billboard Song Writing Awards, was played on national radio over 260 stations in syndication. It also lead to his being selected as opening act at the Sunfest Jazz Festival in Palm Beach, FL for Harry Connick Jr. Each of his subsequent releases received wonderful critical acclaim in every top Jazz print and online publication. He also received music recognition in Guitar Player Magazine, and was a feature story and cover story in Just Jazz Guitar Magazine.

After moving to VA in 1995 and dedicating himself to education, Lewis continued to play regional festivals and concerts as his schedule allowed. His trio was opening act for B.B. King, and he was a regular headliner on festivals with Derek Smith, Ed Shaughnessy, Dave Brubeck, Randy Crawford, Joe Sample, John Pizzarelli, Lou Rawls, Melissa Manchester, Dianne Shurr,and many other top Jazz Artists[3]. He also appeared in concert with Herb Ellis, Joe Byrd and Mundell Lowe on several occasions.

He also performed in the Washington D.C. Area with top artists such as Chuck Redd, Robert Redd, Tommy Cecil, Victor Dvoskin, Sharon Clark, Paul Langosch, steve Herberman and other well known Jazz Musicians. He performed two concerts at The Smithsonian Jazz Bar and appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.[4] with fellow guitarist Steve Abshire.

His Career in Post-secondary education began in 1973 when he became a Music Instructor at his Alma Mater Morris Harvey College. Along with creating and directing the Guitar Program he co-authored an innovative A.S. Degree in 20th Century Popular Music which was one of the first of its type in the US. He then went on to develop and oversee Guitar Programs at Marshall University, Palm Beach University, and Liberty University[5]. Lewis co-authored the B.S. in Worship Studies at Liberty University in 2002 and helped build it into the largest Program of its type in the world by the time he retired in 2016. He has personally graduated over 1000 Guitar Majors in his stellar academic career.

He has also received the Gregory Lobach Award for excellence in Education, as well as the 1998 Civil Summit Award from the WV Division of Human Rights for his outstanding contribution to racial harmony in October of 1998.

Lewis currently serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz and Guitar at Bluefield University and Appalachian Bible College. He continues as a regular contributor to Jazz Guitar Today Magazineand is also a regular Staff Solo Musician at the world famous Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia|White Sulphur Springs WV.


As Leader

With Steve Abshire

With Maddy Winer


  1. "Vince Lewis". Breedlove Guitar Company. Retrieved 2023-09-26.
  2. "WELCOME TO VINCE LEWIS.COM...!!! Vince Lewis Jazz Guitarist". Retrieved 2023-09-26.
  3. "Vince Lewis, Author at Jazz Guitar Today". Retrieved 2023-09-26.
  4. "Vince Lewis, Author at Jazz Guitar Today". Retrieved 2023-09-26.
  5. "Vince Lewis | Benedetto Guitars". Retrieved 2023-09-26.

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