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RIP Derrick Lewis

I just received the horrible news that bassist Derrick Lewis, one of Houston’s finest musicians, was struck and killed while riding his bicycle this weekend. This is a senseless loss of life, one that has stunned the entire Houston jazz community as well as all those who knew him.

Derrick and I used to play a duo gig together in downtown Houston, just bass and piano playing tunes to small crowds who had an interest in actually listening to the music. It was a delightful experience because beyond his talents, Derrick was so fun to be around. Warm, funny, unaffected, and humble: he was without question one of the good people in the world… My heart breaks for his family during this difficult time. I’m further saddened to be out of the country and unable to attend the memorial events planned over Labor Day.

He is surived by his wife Anne and son Gregory, a new freshman at U of H.

RIP friend.

Here’s a nice obituary written by his long-time friend and bandmate, David Cutaia.


Yesterday, about 10:30 am, my best friend, bandmate and brother of 39 years, was hit by a car while riding his bike. When EMS arrived he was unresponsive and was placed in Neuro ICU at Memorial-Herman hospital where he was pronounced dead. Derrick’s wife Anne Lundy has graciously and selflessly allowed Derrick to be an organ donar and his body will help save many people’s lives and create a good quality of life for many others. There will be a memorial service, tentatively planned for 3pm, Monday, Sept 3, 2012- that’s Labor Day, at St. Mary’s United Methodist Church, 6731 Scott St. There will be a musical tribute and jam session at the church afterwards, as well as a jam and benefit at a venue TBA in the near future. Please keep Anne and Gregory, who is starting at U of H this semester and is having to move into his dorm today, in your thoughts and prayers.



  • Cathy

    I just met Derrick last week. This is the third death in the performing arts community this month that I am aware of all caused by people driving cars irresponsibly. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, He was an amazing musician.

  • Dana Clark

    I can’t believe he’s gone! I think the last time I saw him, Derrick, his brother Kevin and I were playing music for their father’s funeral. I will never forget the unique way his bass supported the rest of the music. I’m sorry I will never get to play with him again. A truly unique person and musician.

  • Margie

    I knew Derrick through Anne and had the good fortune to hear him play. He will be solely missed. Much sympathy for the family he leaves behind.

  • Ronald Lee Young

    I never knew Derrick, but if he was as gentle a spirit and as fine a musician as is his brother Kevin, then I am sure that he touched deeply many people in his life, making their own that much richer.

  • Gary Davenport

    My thoughts are similar to Ron Young’s….though I never met or knew Derrick, I do know Kevin and recall Kevin mentioning him from time to time. Just from knowing Kevin and reading the comments and descriptions of those who knew Derrick, it is obvious that he was a wonderful human being. My prayers and heart go out to Kevin and family.

  • Osakwe

    One of the most consistent people I’ve known. He was my first upright bass teacher, and the most memorable. He patiently walked me through the Rufus Reid theory book, and taught me so much more that wasn’t on the page. Derrick, your physical absence will be greatly missed. To Ms Anne Lundy, and their son Gregory, I send all the strength I can lend to get through this rough transition. I recently lost my father, the healing is slow, but time, your faith, and good memories will get you through. May God see you through.

    • Andrew

      Thank you for your work on the ghost bike project. As an avid rider myself, I live in constant terror riding around this city–especially now in the era of phones. Re: the photo, I can’t remember if I took it, or if I got it from one of my musician friends like Erin Wright or David Cutaia. If you want to give credit, give it to those two jointly (to cover bases!). I know we’d all like to keep his memory alive in whatever way possible. He was such a great guy.


  • Robert Lee Young

    aside from being in the top 5 Houston jazz bassists, Derrick was a GOOD friend and a credit to great race relations (as was Satchmo). i totally enjoyed his renderings no matter which venue/group. i first met him when
    he sat in for another top 5-er bassist @ a restaurant where Harry Sheppard used to play. i thank Marie Bosarge
    for having him play in the Bob(by) Henschen group @ her Generous Jazz Concerts in her villa. the last time i saw
    Derrick was at Brasil a few weeks before this tragedy: he was explaining how much he enjoyed 2-wheeling on
    the city streets. i told him it was so dangerous here when i was a kid, he needed to be extremely careful if he
    chose not to ride in a ‘closed’ environment.
    i really miss talking with Derrick and mourn his passing to this day; i hope i will again cross paths with him on
    the streets paved with gold where i am sure he is playing in a band with all the Houston greats who have gone
    on to their greater rewards!
    Houston’s loss is Heaven’s GAIN! R.I.P.

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