J.T. Lewis began playing drums at the age of 10 and went on to study Jazz composition at City College of New York with John Lewis and Jaki Byard. J.T. also privately studied with Albert Tootie Heath and the late great Freddie Waits. In 1976, J.T. left New York City to tour With Bobbi Humphrey for two years and eventually he came back to New York and developed his career as one of the pre-eminent session/live artists in the city.
J.T. has played and recorded with a range of famous and noteworthy artists ...including: Ira Siegal, Kip Hanrahan, Omar Hakim, Danny Wilesky, Stanley Jordan, Curtis King, Skip McDonald, Henry Threadgill, Sting, Tina Turner, Lou Reed, Bill Laswell, Whitney Houston, Marc Anthony, Herbie Hancock, and Marianne Faithful. J.T. was the original drummer in Vernon Reed's Living Colour)...J.T.'s list of playing credits certainly speaks to his versatility as a musician and his love for all kinds of music.
He has been the drummer for Vanessa Williams for the past 6 yrs. He has also been collaborating with "downtown musicians" Mark Ribot and Roy Nathanson on various projects...one involving Elvis Costello and Debbie Harry.
J.T. is currently co- leader of the band Harriet Tubman with Melvin Gibbs on bass (Rollins band)...and Brandon Ross (Henry Threadgill) on guitar. Critically acclaimed in Europe, Harriet Tubman will be starting to tour in the U.S Fall 2002. A Zildjian artist since 1986, J.T.Lewis uses Zildjian Super 5Wood tip drumsticks and A Zildjian cymbals in his set-up.