The Lewis Connection

Pierre and Andre Lewis had grown up at the corner of Oxford and Iglehart, one block from St. Paul’s Central High. With the boys still young, Geraldine Lewis, their mother, bought an entry-level organ, presumably to drown out their father William’s trumpet playing. By his own admission, Pierre was a slow learner; years passed before the keyboard made any sense to him. After a compelling performance by church organist Carl Walker, Geraldine approached him about providing lessons for her sons. Walker, then years from chartering St. Paul’s Walker West Music Academy, enriched the Lewis boys’ lessons with theory and technique, connecting dots between gospel and funk. One afternoon, Ronnie Scott, organist for Maurice McKinnies and the Champions, stopped by the Lewis home just long enough to drag his mohair sleeves across the family organ’s drawbars for a fiery display of extraordinary playing. The Champions 45 “Sock-A-Poo-Poo ’69 (Parts 1 & 2)” had received spins on the Lewis hi-fi, and Scott’s living room cameo seriously motivated the Lewis brothers toward well-dressed careers in music. The Lewis Connection would field a roster in constant flux, despite the unity implied by its name.

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