Profile: Lewis Porter

Faculty
Department of Arts, Culture and Media, Graduate Program in American Studies

 

Lewis Porter, PhD, is a jazz pianist and Professor of Music at Rutgers University in Newark, where he directs the Master's program in jazz history. He is known worldwide for his teaching and for his many books and articles, especially John Coltrane: His Life and Music (published in English in 1998; published in French and Italian editions in 2007). He edited the John Coltrane Reference which appeared in January 2008. He has also published books on jazz history and on Lester Young, and many articles. As a pianist and keyboardist, he is known for a free and open attitude, and an ability to contribute to any type of musical situation. For example, he has performed recently with such artists as Bela Fleck, Wycliffe Gordon, Ravi Coltrane, Joe Morris, Badal Roy, and Jane Ira Bloom; he performed in Europe in November 2007 with Dave Liebman and others. His CD Italian Encounter, recorded live at Siena Jazz,  received only rave reviews.

 

His other CDs include Transformation (duets with fellow pianist and Berklee professor Marc Rossi), a duo CD with clarinetist and NJIT Professor David Rothenberg, and the forthcoming Liebman/Marc Ribot quintet CD (Enja
Records), among others. He is a regular member of the Indian-influenced quartet Dharma Jazz with Badal Roy (Dharmajazz.net), and he appears on their CD as well.  His three-movement concerto for
saxophone and orchestra will be premiered by Dave Liebman at Harvard on April 19, 2012. The critics have said that Porter is “A helluva piano player” (Jazz Times). "Mixing experimental with traditional, [he] plays up a storm." (Midwest Record)  “Porter is a deep thinker.” (Swing Journal). 

His music is “founded upon depth and cunning use of space" (ejazznews.com).  Porter was nominated for a liner-note Grammy in 1996. You can follow his occasional blog of his new jazz research here:
https://www.wbgo.org/blog/category/20877