Keyboardist, composer and organist Vel Lewis, continues to create Classic, Cool, Jazz & Soul compositions. Following the release of his Smooth Jazz Adult Contemporary single “Maybe So”, the first release from his current 2014 EP “Colors of Soul”, the single continues to chart.
"Song For My Love" is the second single by Hammond organist Vel Lewis from his forthcoming summer release EP, "Colors of Soul" on June 24. This mixture of soulful, jazzy rhythmic songs will deliver sultry, groove-laced music that catches and soothes your heart. Vel Lewis captures the keyboards with mixing by Greg Manning and special guests Kevin Chokan and master percussionist Lenny Castro.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his career began with the Philadelphia All Boys Choir, performing as a soloist at Expo ’67 in Montreal, Canada, while attending Settlement Music School where he had vocal, piano, and concert flute training. Within two years, he added the organ to his repertoire.
By the 70’s, he had joined a vocal group, The Futures, and recorded the single “Breaking Up” on the AMJO record label out of Philadelphia. However, as he continued his training at Overbrook High School, he was asked to perform on a televised PBS jazz program with his classmates, drummer Gerry Brown (Stanley Clarke's "School Days") and bassist John Lee (Dizzy Gillespie's band), from the school’s jazz band along with the show’s producer, Mr. Ira Tucker, Jr.
It was the coup de grace; the show led to Lewis becoming a studio session musician with Peacock Records (a division of ABC Records), and producer Ira Tucker, Sr., lead singer of The Dixie Hummingbirds. Vel recorded Hammond organ with The Gospelaires of Ohio, The Sensational Nightingales, The Five Blind Boys, and on Paul Simon’s “Love Me Like A Rock” and Stevie Wonder’s “Jesus Children of America”, both with The Dixie Hummingbirds, while garnering a recording contract with The Futures from Philadelphia International Records, a division of Columbia Records. There was a whirlwind of activity between recording sessions and concerts with Frankie Beverly and Maze, The O’Jays, Grover Washington, The Spinners, The Whispers, and The Supremes.
The Futures’ band became known as The Life Group, and began playing with The Delfonics, performing such hits as “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind”, “When You Get Right Down To It”, and “La, La, Means I Love You”. Lewis had become an A-List musician, performing on shows with Earth, Wind, & Fire, Parliament/Funkadelic, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks.
Fortunately, Lewis was not one to be limited, as he co-wrote the Delfonics’ hit song, “I Told You So” with William Hart and co-wrote The Life Group’s successful single, “Tell Me Why”. Lewis continued to work throughout the industry during the early 80’s performing with Phyllis Hyman, Stevie Wonder, Mandrill and numerous other guest stars.
Lewis co-produced original music with Tom Borton and former RCA executive Ed Martinez for Chrysler/Plymouth Motors Super Bowl commercials featuring Tina Turner. Lewis continued into the 90’s co-writing and co-producing on Borton’s three-album deal with Mesa/Bluemoon Records.
Never a stranger to the road, Lewis continued to perform at places like the Indianapolis Jazz Festival with Dan Siegel and Boney James, in addition to performing with Ms. Dionne Warwick on her World Tour for three years.
A compilation CD released in 2007 called "Keepin' It Mellow" contained a song from Vel’s “All Wound Up” CD entitled “Let It Ride”, which became the number #1 Most Played Single in the U.K.