Bluefield College music students interested in learning how to play the guitar can now do so under the guidance of one of music’s best in veteran instructor, performer, composer and recording artist Vince Lewis.
Lewis comes to Bluefield College after developing and directing the classical and jazz guitar programs at the University of Charleston, Marshall University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, and Liberty University. He has taught at the post-secondary level for 44 years, conducted jazz guitar workshops, and created courses in improvisation and other jazz related subjects at the university level.
“I’m looking forward to returning to a small Christian College environment where I can get to know the students and their interests,” said Lewis about his decision to join the BC music faculty. “I’m excited to come to Bluefield College after 20 years in a university that grew so large it was difficult to do that.”
As a performer, Lewis has been a headliner in jazz festivals with industry legends like Dave Brubeck, B.B King, Ellis Marsalis, Lou Rawls, Mundell Lowe, John Pizzarelli and Melissa Manchester. He has also been a featured artist at the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe and the Kennedy Center.
As a recording artists, Lewis has recorded 20 CDs and each has received excellent critical acclaim in virtually every major jazz publication. He was the cover photo and feature interview in the February 2014 issue of Just Jazz Guitar, the largest magazine dedicated to jazz guitar in the world. He has also been noted since 2002 as “one of the leading active jazz artists” in the jazz guitar category of Jazz Improv magazine. And, he is included in the 2014 Scott Yanow book, The Great Jazz Guitarists…The Ultimate Guide.”
“His playing is indicative of the rarified air of true mastery,” said Jim Carlton in his book Conversations with Great Jazz and Studio Guitarists. “He routinely creates engaging and excellent music.”
Currently scheduled for induction into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, Lewis is a Heritage Guitar, Benedetto Guitar, Eastman Guitar, Breedlove Guitar, and Redstone Audio performing artist. He also has a Vince Lewis signature archtop guitar built by Richard Ralston, a noted New Zealand luthier. And while he has had an extremely successful performance career, he says he’s now ready to focus on sharing his gift as an instructor at Bluefield College.
“I love teaching and seeing my students grow as people and musicians more than performing myself,” said Lewis. “That is the main joy to me, career-wise, now.”