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
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 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
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
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
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, Holland
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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