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Lewis Robert Porter (born 1951) is an American musicologist, educator, author, and jazz pianist.


Education and careerEdit

Porter earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Rochester in 1972, and, while there, studied music at Eastman. He went on to earn a Master of Education in Counseling from Northeastern University in 1976, followed by a master's degree in Music Theory from Tufts University in 1979, under mentorship of T. J. Anderson.[1] In 1983, Porter got his Ph.D. in Musicology from the Brandeis University, and in 1986[2] became a Professor of Music at Rutgers University, where he founded and still directs the world's first jazz history program, the Master's Program in Jazz History and Research.[3] Prior to his appointment at Rutgers, he taught full-time at the Tufts University and part-time at Brandeis, as well as New School, Manhattan School of Music, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.[4]

Porter performs frequently on piano and synthesizer with many artists. His album Beauty & Mystery featured Terri Lyne Carrington, John Patitucci and Tia Fuller.[5] He has also played with Dave Liebman, Bela Fleck, Don Byron, Dave King and others. He has appeared on about 25 album as a sideperson, co-leader, or as a leader.[6] Among the latter are Second Voyage with Dan Faulk and Dave Liebman (2002)[7] and Italian Encounter with Furio DiCastri "live" for the Siena Jazz Festival (2007),[8] on the Altrisuoni label, and among those as co-leader, "Surreality" with Dave Liebman and Marc Ribot (Enja) Transformation (keyboard duets with Marc Rossi/Altrisuoni label) and Just Four (as a member of the India/Jazz group Dharma Jazz).[9]

In 2002, Porter was appointed as an editor at the University of Michigan Press.[10]


Porter is author of many books and articles. These include Jazz: A Century of Change and Lester Young.

He is best known for his biography of saxophonist John Coltrane, published in 1998 in English, and in French and Italian in 2007. Entitled John Coltrane: His Life and Music (University of Michigan Press), the book has been endorsed by Coltrane's son Ravi Coltrane, Dan Morgenstern, Jimmy Heath, Dave Liebman, and many others.[11]

He is the founding editor of the Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians.[12]

He frequently appears on NPR, WNYC, and WBGO, as well as on TV programs such as BET and BBC. He is also quoted in various printed media, including The New York Times and The Ledger upon others.[4] Every September he also does Bible studies.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Lewis Porter interview by Fabio Rojas". The Art of Jazz Research/Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  2. ^ "WPI to Host Lecture by Jazz Historian Lewis Porter". Worcester Polytechnic Institute. April 13, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  3. ^ "A scholar and a musician". Rutgers University. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Dr. Lewis Porter: Biography". Rutgers University. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  5. ^ Phillip Lutz (April 4, 2019). "Pianist Lewis Porter Truly Goes Solo". DownBeat.
  6. ^ Brian Zimmerman (October 11, 2018). "Lewis Porter – "People Get Ready"". Jazziz.
  7. ^ David Adler (June 25, 2003). "Lewis Porter: Second Voyage". All About Jazz. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  8. ^ "Italian Encounter: Lewis Porter at Siena Jazz". All About Jazz. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  9. ^ Alex W. Rodriguez (November 17, 2010). "McNeely leads trio and other jazz happenings in New Jersey and New York". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  10. ^ "Lewis Porter: Author and Educator" (PDF). Rutgers University. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  11. ^ "Interview with Dr. Lewis Porter". All About Jazz. February 24, 2004. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  12. ^ Jean O'Neill Uhl; B. Davis Schwartz (2008). Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians. 22. pp. 47–48. doi:10.1108/09504120810914691. ISSN 0950-4125.

External linksEdit