Mark combines all the attributes that I look for in a great jazz musician. For one, he has exceptional technical command of his instruments. Secondly, he is endlessly inventive and creative in the way he plays music. Third, he's able to put his own personal stamp on everything he plays. Very rarely do you encounter musicians who can succeed on all three of those levels.
It doesn't matter what kind of jazz you like. Want to swing like Lester Young? Ratchet up the rhythmic intensity with Birdlike bop? Dig soul-splitting clarity a la Stan Getz? Lewis is your man. He can step in and play in a cool jazz environment as good as the best of them.
It's almost extraordinary the range of things he's capable of doing. You listen to the guys with the primo recording contracts on the very top labels, and in my opinion, they're not in Mark's league.
I feel [that Mark] is one of the most lyrical and emotionally committed saxophonists of his generation.
– Ted Gioia, jazz critic, author The History of Jazz and How to Listen to Jazz
How refreshing to hear an altoist bearing the influences of such consummate lyricists as Paul Desmond and Lee Konitz. This is music whose "coolness" sears.
Mark Lewis is a Northwest treasure. He's devoted years to honing his skills on saxes & flute and it shows in his tone and execution. He's also a catalyst who makes things happen on stage, inspiring everyone who plays with him. He deserves wider recognition.
– Jim Wilke, radio host, Jazz After Hours and Jazz Northwest
Mark has always been spectacular at idiosyncratic, gorgeously unexpected riffs played with complete grace. His sense of melody is a rare gift.
– David Zasloff, jazz comedian
Mark Lewis is a musician who is truly dedicated and cares 100 percent about the quality of music he plays. There are not a lot of people like that, unfortunately.
– David Friesen, jazz bassist, Portland OR
Mark's sound is the truth. It is tempered with real world experiences and embodies world cultures and a track record of victory which comes out of his horn.
– Bobby Watson, jazz saxophonist, Kansas City MO
I’ve been listening to Mark’s record. Excellent, he is quite a musician. I like him because he’s Different and Different is Good. Tell Mark that he has a new fan........
– Richie Cole, jazz saxophonist
We truly enjoyed the concert - it was one of our best yet!
– Anna Miller, Executive Director, Bremerton Symphony Association
Tucked away in a dark underground bar.. we found the brightest ray of light. Mark Lewis creating joy. We all knew we were experiencing greatness.
– Jen Clark, The Leader Newspaper
He sees clear to the core of light/Because his music's vision is his sight.
– Robert Komishane, poet, Port Townsend WA
A beautiful album by four excellent craftsmen giving life to Mark Lewis's compositions -- the real stars of this show. Listen a couple times; you'll be whistling these captivating melodies, too.
– Lynn Darroch, Bright Moments Café host, KMHD Portland (about The New York Session album)
A fantastic player ... it is startling to hear how he uses every textural possibility to express himself.
– Ron Netsky, Rochester City Newspaper
His improvisations are thrilling and provocative, and he is constantly challenging the musicians around him.
– Raul da Gama, World Music Report, Ontario Canada
A brilliant improviser, a prolific composer, and master performer.
– Dr. Debra Jan Bibel, Amazon Top 500 reviewer
Mark is a great player, a great guy and a joy to play with. He is brilliant.
– Mike Renzi, jazz pianist
In addition to being a dear friend, a most compassionate human being, Mark Lewis is a consummate performer and one of the most dedicated musical virtuosos I have ever known and had the pleasure of performing with for many years!!!
– Overton Berry, jazz pianist, Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame
Mark Lewis is a phenomenal saxophonist and composer! I have enjoyed performing with him and I deeply appreciate his musicianship, his willingness to share the spotlight with his players, his knowledge of his craft of jazz improvisation, and his artful spontaneity! And, after all the kudos are in, Mark also happens to be one very nice man. He is a contemporary player who has the soul of an old musician steeped in the full traditions of jazz. It is a joy to work with Mark Lewis!
– Barney McClure, jazz pianist, Palm Springs CA
Mark Lewis is not only a stunningly brilliant soloist, he is an incredibly supportive player. He has created a way to uniquely accompany the vocal with great intuitive feeling.
– Cynthia Bythell, jazz vocalist, Berkely CA
I love playing with Mark!
– Mark Ivester, jazz drummer, Gig Harbor WA
Mark loves life and music and is the most positive cat you'll ever meet - it comes out beautifully in his playing and his compositions.
– Northampton Jazz Workshop, Northampton MA
Time after time I have been witness to his ability to touch and move the listener in a way that is seldom seen.
– James Long, jazz bassist, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Each of Mark’s compositions is like a dance.
– Paul Arslanian, Northampton MA
A great player.
– Greg Abate, jazz saxophonist, Rhode Island Jazz Hall of Fame
An authentic and invigorating creator is among us.
– Tim Price, jazz saxophonist, Selmer clinician
Mark is one of the most incredible alto saxophonists I've heard in years.
– Ann Hobson Pilot, former principal harpist, Boston Symphony Orchestra
When most people play bebop, they slur. Mark doesn’t. He hits every bloody note.
– Dick Osborn, Kingston WA
That was a home run – Mark hit it out of the park.
– Joe Seta, Sequoia Room manager, Fort Bragg CA
Mark Lewis knocked everyone out with his fantastic playing and joyful exuberance. The audience and the band had a great time especially with Mark's originals. I look forward to having Mark perform in Tucson from now on, every year when he is passing through.
– Pete Swan, Pete Swan Productions, Tucson AZ
It doesn't get any better than this.
– Tom Kramer, The Majestic Jazz Club, Kansas City MO
The Jazz conversation was so powerful tonight.
– Charles Martin, Jazz at the Merc, Temecula CA
I just want to thank you again for the wonderful, fantastic performance the other night. Everyone is still talking about it. Mark is an extremely talented performer, one of the best saxophone players I have heard, and all were very impressed.
– Jean Bayus, Jean Bayus Music Entertainment, Peoria AZ
I enjoyed the music very much and so did the audience. I’ll book him again.
– Gloria Cadena, The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach CA (famous jazz series since the 1940’s)
What a GREAT GREAT show this was!
– Rich Tews, Exec. Director, Jazz in the Hills, Fountain Hills AZ
It was a fabulous afternoon! Many fans told me it was the best jazz they've heard at Pat's House of Jazz — jazz on a whole other level. And that is saying a lot, since we've had some great bands.
– Gloria Collins, Music Promoter, Crofton BC
Mark is one of the most audience engaging musicians I have heard in a long time reminiscent to that of Cannonball Adderley and how he took time to involve his audiences.
– Don Fraser, MC, Frankie's Jazz Club, Vancouver BC
Mark Lewis is high on my list of the top ten jazz alto saxophonists in the world.
– Burt Jagolinzer, President, Newport Jazz Association, RI
I sat under an umbrella of continuous amazement at the depth at which these two conducted the musical conversation. … Hard to realize so much music and diversity comes out of just two musicians. (review of a performance with guitarist John Stowell)
– Chris Lunn, Ancient Victorys News, Autumn 2013
A wonderful, gifted saxophonist and creative original, Lewis had been an important influence in the upsurge of local musicians attempting to find their own unique jazz voice.
– Times Colonist, Victoria BC
Mark Lewis plays an alto saxophone with a sound that could cut through steel like a laser beam. Yet, you always know there is a passionate human being that cares behind that compelling tone.
– Bud Young, Bud’s Jazz Records / KBCS Radio
Lewis [plays] a smoky, romantic sax reminiscent of the laid back 'cool' jazz of the '50s, which stirred yearnings for a dimly lit dance floor.
– Earshot Jazz
Mark Lewis has an elegant sound and gently builds a solo without being overly busy with notes. As an improviser, he is not only a great soloist, but also creatively uses the ideas he hears from the other musicians, which results in a call and response creative group sound. He is a master of the modern bop vocabulary, but is not humorless and cliché-bound as so many of his contemporaries are.
– De Telegraaf, Amsterdam (translation from Dutch)
I wanted to find some good music for my customers. I picked up The New York Session at random in a music store and I love the music. I’ve received many, many compliments on the music from customers. I want to thank Mark, George, Victor and Essiet for what they do.
– Jason, UBER driver, Los Angeles CA
I’ve gone to Jazz Alley many times and have heard some great music there, but I’ve never heard anything better there than what I’ve heard here in Kingston.
– Theresa Holland-Schmid, Kingston WA
Further uptown, the Hazel Miller Plaza hosted the Mark Lewis Quartet, who treated the crowd to improv jazz ranging from the energetic to the sublime. Virtuoso reed player Mark Lewis, front man for the combo, showed his brilliance on the alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, and then surprised the crowd with standup performance of an original piece on flute.
– Larry Vogel, My Edmonds News
To Mark Lewis: “You are the Mr. Rogers of jazz”
– Jana Chicoine, daughter of jazz author Tom Stoddard, Northampton MA
Mark Lewis has a direct connection to the soul of music.
– Rhonda S., Bremerton WA
I wish I was out on the West Coast so I could hear Mark more often. He’s the best.
– Marty S., Portsmouth RI
I’ve been a jazz fan since the 1940’s. Mark’s one of the best.
– Gene M, Kingston WA
Mark Lewis is a rare find. I wish he was here more often.
– Louis L., Scottsdale AZ
Mark Lewis is an accomplished musician – equally talented with three saxophones and the flute. I have never before heard musicianship that grand, and I attend many musical events. As a flautist, Mark was unbelievable. He created sounds with that instrument that were unusual and made me want to learn more. Although he mentioned that he wrote the music that was performed, I read his bio to discover that he has composed more than 1700 songs! After one performance, I have become a dedicated fan. Can’t wait to see him again.
– Carole G., Tempe AZ
That was one of the best concerts I've ever heard. We’ve been going to the 'First Sunday' concerts for several years. We've seen dozens, but this was the first standing ovation! It was EXCELLENT in every way.
– Rex O., Bainbridge Island WA
It was truly a great show!
– Joel S., Bainbridge Island WA
I've been to a lot of clubs in New York during hours and after hours, and I've never enjoyed a set like this!
– Bob H., Newport RI
When Mark Lewis comes to town, it's an event. We look forward to it all summer.
– Tatyana D., Newport RI
Today's concert made not just my day or my week, but the whole summer. When I hear Mark play I know I'm hearing genius.
– Boris G., Newport RI
What you did here today was magical. It was the best day I've had here and I come a lot.
– Carlos R., Kansas City MO
This was the best hour of music I have ever had the privilege of experiencing -- the last set at El Coral with Mark Lewis et al. I was blown away!
– Michael M., Bremerton WA
People, if you have the chance to listen to Mark Lewis, DO IT! He is amazing!
– Joyce N., Bremerton WA
Some of the things he does on the saxophone aren’t possible. If those things he does that I can’t explain were possible, other people would be doing them.
– Gary B., Tacoma WA
He makes that saxophone sing. It's just incredible.
– Esther B., Newport RI
I grew up in New York City in the 50's and heard all of the greats. Mark Lewis is right up there.
– Jacob M., Brooklyn NY
I came to see Mark and JB Butler last summer. I still tell my friends about the great music I heard that night. I bought one of Mark's CDs that night along with "Art's Back in Town" LP. Both are great and I listen often.
– Mike S., Chesapeake VA
People are still talking about the show on the 25th. It's going to be hard to top that!
– Laurel S., Bremerton WA
Most Jazz Players play in the safe middle ground of the chords; Mark is always exploring the edges, the very edges rhythmically and tonally. It’s never been the same twice, so far. I thank God (who is good) for Mark Lewis. I can face Monday now.
– Fred K., Port Orchard WA
Jazz is not dead. It is alive and well and doing better than ever in the hands of Mark Lewis and his soulful sax, that he has always performed with such grace and heart that it has brought me to tears. The house was packed and it stayed packed until the very end. It's a night to remember.
– Suzanne G., Olympia WA
If you have any opportunity to enjoy Mark Lewis on sax and flute, take it. … the audience couldn’t get enough.
– Helen K., Great Barrington MA
When I listen to Mark’s music, I feel like angels come into our home and tell us everything is going to be all right. I am so grateful for the fact that we can listen to it on his website.
– Louise R., ME
It’s hard to say anything in small bite-sized pieces about Mark Lewis. On alto, I’ve heard none better, and he has a lot of fun with the guests he shares with us on these evenings. When he includes some pieces playing flute and others playing baritone it is clear that either one could be his main instrument as well. His baritone is seamless across the full range. Again, I have heard none better. He contributes a lot to my quality of life.
– Roger C., Port Orchard WA
You make my heart glad. I can't stop smiling.
– Jim L., Kansas City MO
Great performer, interesting, an inspiration.
– Abigail M, saxophone student, Newton MA
When I go to Jazz Alley, I’m lucky when I hear music this good.
– Joe T., Vashon Island WA
That was such an awesome performance!
– Gregory N., “Kitsap Culture” blog
We enjoyed last night’s performance and wanted to express our gratitude. Such good vibes, both the music and the people.
– Herb and Laura M., boaters on the move
Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the Jazz at the Upstage on Thurs. night - what a treat!
– Autumn S., Chimacum WA
Really enjoyed the show at the Majestic!
– Dan E., Kansas City MO
Thanks so much for a great evening of great music last night in Port Townsend. Everybody and everything sounded really, really good!! Looking forward to seeing you again. Take care!
– Hugh and Erika S., Port Townsend WA
I loved the concert!!
– Jeanne B., Port Townsend WA
Nobody can play the saxophone like Mark Lewis.
– Marilyn Lewis, Port Orchard WA (Mark's Mom)
Chris Lunn, Infinite Points CD Review