Music > The Phil Lewis Quartet

The Phil Lewis Quartet
The Phil Lewis Quartet: Phil Lewis, guitar; Noel Melanio, piano; Paul Tavenner, drums; Bill Markus, bass. Photo by Mary Cilva.

Created in 2002, the Phil Lewis Quartet is a traditional jazz ensemble with a signature melodic swing that provides context to varied sources of inspiration, including bossa nova, the great American songbook, and the titans of cool jazz that flourished in California in the 1960s. Shunning pyrotechnics for evocative and lyrical ensemble playing, the PLQ is accessible to casual listeners, while providing subtle harmonic and rhythmic elements that appeal to more demanding listeners. Combining original compositions and reinventions of jazz standards, the PLQ creates a bewitching cocktail of nostalgia and innovation that keeps its ideas and performances fresh.

Built around the warm and lyrical guitar of leader Phil Lewis and Noel Melanio's nimble piano, the PLQ also includes veteran sidemen Paul Tavenner (drums) and Bill Markus (bass). As with some of the great historic quartets, there is a chamber music connection, with a focus on interplay and musical discussion between the Quartet's members. The result is a sound that has been dubbed "melodic jazz" by some fans and critics. Their latest CD, The Bitter Suite, is available now from online retailers CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon.


*All tracks from the PLQ CD The Bitter Suite ©2011 Continuus Records.

Phil Lewis, guitar

Guitarist, composer, and engineer Phil Lewis was born in New Jersey and educated at Berklee College, the Institute of Audio Research, and UCLA. Over thirty+ years he has worked with a wide variety of artists ranging from funk drummer Gerry Brown and Latin jazz trumpeter Bobby Rodriguez to arranger Lalo Schifrin and Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier. Since the late 1990s he has focused his energy on producing what has been referred to by some as "melodic jazz" – a style that emphasizes melody and emotion over musical pyrotechnics.

Noel Melanio, piano

Noel Melanio has written, arranged, and performed for the Daytime Emmy Awards, Last Call with Carson Daly, and as musical director for singer/comedian Richard Cheese. His work can also be heard on NBC's Passions, Las Vegas, on the syndicated radio show Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli, and at Knott's Berry Farm theme park. Based in Santa Monica, California, Noel is highly in demand as a freelance pianist and chromatic harmonica player.

Paul Tavenner, drums

Producer, engineer, and drummer Paul Tavenner has recorded, produced and/or performed on more than 1,200 recordings for artists including Ernie Watts, Robben Ford, Jeff Richman, Alphonse Mouzon, Mike Stern, Larry Goldings, Peter Erskine, Stanley Clarke, and many others. Paul has performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival in Pasadena, the Hollywood Jazz Festival, and extensively throughout Los Angeles. Recent recordings feature performances with Doug Webb, Ron Feuer, Mitch Forman, Ric Fierabracci, Ernie Watts, and Jeff Miley. His studio, Big City Recording in Granada Hills, CA is a favorite of many Southern California jazz musicians.

Bill Markus, bass

Bassist, composer, teacher, producer Bill Markus has worked with Dale Fielder, Roy Hargrove, Lew Tabackin, Terence Blanchard, Kevin Mahogany, Horace Tapscott, Billy Higgins, Jeff Clayton, Larry Koonse, and too many others to mention. He is also, perhaps most notably, an essential part of the Phil Lewis Quartet.


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