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How Music Influences Multiple Generations In The Lewis Family

This story originally aired on April 1, 2017.

Donovan Lewis is 4 years old and has been playing the drums since before he learned how to walk. His preschool teacher says that on rainy days, Donovan taps out the beat the raindrops make on the building's metal downspouts. This should come as no surprise. His parents say that music is in their son's DNA. 

D'Vonne Lewis is Donovan's father. D'Vonne is an accomplished Seattle-based drummer. He's performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, pianist Marian McPartland and guitarist Bucky Pizzarellie, to name just a few. 

When D'Vonne first dipped into music as a child, he really wanted to play guitar. But seeing a picture of his father, Dave Lewis Junior playing drums changed that, "Seeing a picture of Dad on the drums, that's when I was like, "Okay, I'm gonna really take it seriously."

D'Vonne still has that photo of his father. D'Vonne's grandfather was Hammond B-3 organ legend, Dave Lewis. 

The musical headwaters of the Lewis family began with Dave Lewis Senior.

"My grandfather, Dave Lewis Senior, taught my father, Dave Lewis, all that he knew. And this was back in the '50s and '60s where my grandfather taught Quincy Jones, Jimmy Hendrix and Dave Lewis in the basement of his house, " said Dave Lewis Junior. 

In the Lewis family, one generation shapes the next. Their story kicks off this week's episode, "Under The Influence."

Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.