Master percussionist and solo artist Mingo Lewis rises yet again. With his new album "Mingo Mingo Room of Voices" soon to be released in the U.S. and in europe, Mingo Lewis brings back the talent and energy we so miss in today's pop culture.
Having made such accomplishments as Inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Encyclopedia Britannica for musical accomplishments and #1 Percussionist world wide 1971 and 1972.
Born in New York city, N.Y. (Harlem) Mingo Lewis grew up in a house full of music, instruments and musicians. His father Jimmy "Babyface" Lewis played guitar and worked at the cotton club as an M.C. Mingo grew up going to recording sessions and hanging out with his father at the Baby Grand club on 125th st. in Harlem and close family friends such as Miles Davis, Max Roach and Theolonius Monk. Mingo started playing gigs at the age of six with his father. "In those days all musicians would hang out at the Apollo theater where I got to learn and sit in with many great's (James Brown, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, King Curtis (Apollo Band Leader) and Sandman (Apollo Stage Manager)."
At age 12 Mingo Lewis became very interested in latin music after meeting Pancho Moralez (Conga player for Stevie Wonder). Pancho got Mingo on his first recording session with Kool and the Gang, also their first single (playing bongos).
At that time Mingo was studying drums with Max Roach. Through his friends at school, Mingo really got into Afro Cuban Rumba and Salsa music and found his first teacher, Richard Blackwell, who turned him onto Patato (Carlos Valdez) and Los Papines from Cuba. "On Sundays in Central Park, at the fountain on 72nd Street, all the Rumberos would meet up to jam".
Mingo Lewis met Armando Peraza whom he admired and studied, along with his favorite player Patato. When Mongo Santamaria would come to the Village Gate, Armando would always have him sit in. Mingo was so young he had to sneak in.
A few years later, at age 15, Mingo Lewis auditioned for Santana at Madison Square Garden one night when the percussion section decided to quit and leave the tour. By the next afternoon Mingo was asked to join the band and finish the tour which had just started.
Mingo Lewis played with the band from 1970 to 1974 and recorded 3 albums all listed in his discography. At this time the band was going through many changes and Mingo lost his spirit for the group.
Mingo was soon turned onto Return to Forever, Chick Corea's new group, by the drummer Lenny White, who also played with Azteca, a bay area band. Mingo was asked to sit in with Chick at the Keystone Corner in San Francisco, not knowing it was an audition.
A month later Chick called Mingo and asked him to join the group. Mingo Lewis was very excited and left the bay area and moved back to New York City. Before Mingo arrived in New York, Lenny had quit and was replaced by Steve Gadd. The line-up was Chick Corea, Stanley Clark, Bill Conners, Mingo Lewis and Steve Gadd.
Mingo feels this is where most of his real skills and education came from. This band was a challenge and the best musicians he had ever played with, still to this day. But like all greatness comes problems and in this situation it was called Scientology. Mingo recorded one album with Return to Forever.
Mingo Lewis returned to San Francisco and started a solo project called Flight Never Ending and was signed by Clive Davis to CBS records. About a year after the release of his solo record he lost interest and disbanded the group.
One day, while jamming with some friends at S.I.R. Rehearsal Studios, Mingo was approached by Bill Sponner, leader of The Tubes and asked to join in with them at some shows at Bimbo's Night Club.
Mingo Lewis was amazed with all the dance and theater elements and joined the band and remained with the tubes for almost 9 years, and recorded 9 albums. "One of my favorite recordings is the What Do You Want From Live album." It was recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.
In the late 80's, Mingo started 2 different groups - both New Wave/Funk type bands and they both were 3 piece. The Tong, with Rick Lilley (guitar) and Micheal Griggs (bass) and Combination Go with Joe Satriani (guitar) and Bobby Vega (bass).
The Tong recorded one record, Dangerous Games. Always searching for new music and sounds, Mingo moved to Berlin, Germany and studied and played Middle Eastern music. While in Europe, Mingo recorded 4 albums - 3 instrumentals and one pop/funk vocal album which is to be released in Europe and the U.S. soon.
Currently, Mingo is living in the States with his wife Emily and two sons Diego and Aidan. Mingo has some projects with his new band Room of Voices. Members of this group live both in Europe and the U.S. Appearances and Recordings will be listed soon and can be accessed by the Tour page and online Store. In 2004 Mingo opened a school for drummers and percussionists called Academy of Rhythm in Northern California.
Mingo Lewsi has performed live and or recorded with: Santana, Chick Corea, Return to Forever, Miles Davis, Weather Report, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Airto Moreira, Ray Charles, Todd Rundgren, XTC, Billy Joel, Otis Redding, Squeeze, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Al Di Meola, David Bryne, Brian Eno, Third World, Inner Circle, Bourgeois Tagg, Buddy Miles, The Tubes, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Joe Satriani, Duran Duran, Houssain Kili, Raquel Welch, King Curtis, Stevie Wonder and Mongo Santamaria.