Los Angeles, June 9, 2021: Yesterday we lost a dear friend David Cutler Lewis, whose remarkable keyboard playing was the hallmark of many Ambrosia records and tours throughout the late 70’s & early 80’s.
His first appearance on an Ambrosia LP was on our 1978 release “Life Beyond LA” where his legendary “mini-moog” solo sound was first unleashed on our song “Not As You Were.” David thought like a guitar player but found a way to express it more uniquely than anyone else had on keyboards.
With Chris North on Hammond B-3 & Chamberlin on stage right and David Lewis on stage left with his screamin’ Mini-Moog, Rhodes and Prophet synth, we had everything we could hope for in contemporary music’s sonic pallet of the times.
Here are individual quotes from the four Founding Members of Ambrosia about David’s passing:
It’s with the greatest sorrow we hear of the passing of David Cutler Lewis, our friend and musical brother of many years. Dave was a genius in creating some of the most amazing sounds and fiery solos that added so much to the music and sound of Ambrosia. He later went on to win a Grammy with the New Age band Shadowfax.
Dave was one of the sweetest and kindest persons with an impish sense of humor that endeared him to all who knew him well. It was heartwarming to hear that even in his last hours his hands were reaching out to play along as he listened to recordings of music he had played on. Play on David, you will not be forgotten…Listen to “Fool Like Me” from Ambrosia’s Road Island album. RIP Brother Dave ❤️
David was a gift from God for Ambrosia. He helped take our music to a higher place at the perfect time. His quirky sense of humor blended perfectly with ours. He helped me “decode” chord changes I was hearing at the drop of a hat, or find a riff or synth color almost telepathically. No one sounded like him; he created a monster mini-moog hybrid guitar synth sound whereby he’d split the overdriven upper harmonic with a foot pedal and do amazing note bends… that were simply stunning.
He was Ambrosia’s musical Swiss army knife, he could do it all.
Check out his solos on Ambrosia tracks like “Livin On My Own” “Ready”, “Shape I’m In” or his signature Rhodes & Prophet textures on“Biggest Part of Me” and his wild piano solo on “No Big Deal”. We had our last Facetime call in January and he told me that playing with us was the highlight of his life, and I got to tell him how much I loved him and how he was a highlight of our lives too. I’ll miss him so much-my deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans.
No one could light a fire on stage like David Lewis, I believe he is one of the greatest soloists I ever had the chance to play with, especially with his beloved Moog synth with which he could soar like Hendrix and cry like Vaughn Williams. He was brilliant to say the least. He was always an entertaining character, full of gumption and rarely, if ever, had a lack of opinion to espouse. In this business/art of rock-pop-whatever he was a true partner in crime and I will treasure my memories of “Toots” forever. Rest in Peace dear friend. Burleigh Drummond
Bill Pfordresher -Ambrosia former mgr Co-Producer
Dave Lewis always had a touch of magic when he sat behind his keyboards. He had a humor about him that somehow increased his energy and enriched his musical contributions in the studio. He was a force of music and nature, and one that inspired those who played with him and those who's simply had the pleasure of listening to his art. I will miss all of of these things, but more than anything.....his friendship.
Michael McDonald :
Dave Lewis was a talented musician who brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. I traveled on tour with him for a few years while I was a member of the Doobie Bros. and he, a member of Ambrosia.
Dave was a kind, thoughtful and funny guy, and we’ve lost him way too soon.
About David Cutler Lewis:
He is a multi-instrumentalist best known as a keyboard player born in Seattle, Washington. When he was five he began taking lessons in classical piano and while he was at school he also performed French horn and the trumpet. When he was 19 he moved south to California and entered the California Institute of the Arts where he took his further studies in modern, classical and jazz piano as well as African dance, sitar and theatre and dance multimedia.
After he had graduated he performed with several Californian bands and then became a member of the successful group Ambrosia in the late ’70s/early ’80s. In 1984 he joined up with Shadowfax and in 1989 he won a Grammy Award with them for “Best New Age Performance”. Albums he has appeared on through the course of his career include Greatest Hits, Life Beyond L.A. One Eighty & Road Island by Ambrosia, Natural Thing by Juliet Roberts, Happy To Be by Demis Roussos and Dreams Of Children, Folksongs for a Nuclear Village and Odd Get Even by Shadowfax.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ervE9G4dUf4 Ambrosia Midnight Special 1980
Michael Jensen, Jensen Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org