Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mingo Lewis - 1976 [2017] "Flight Never Ending"

James Mingo Lewis (born December 1940) is an American jazz percussionist who played with Carlos Santana's band, Return To Forever (Chick Corea) and as a sideman for Al Di Meola. Aside from his extensive work as a session musician—Paiste states Mingo "has recorded over 100 records"—, the percussionist also released a solo album, Flight Never Ending (Columbia, 1976).

Legendary Bay Area progressive jazz percussionist Mingo Lewis began performing with Santana in his teens. Lewis also worked with artists such as Al DiMeola, Chick Corea and Return to Forever, David Byrne, Jan Hammer and The Tubes. Many people got a first glance at Lewis’ extraordinary musicianship through Al DiMeola’s debut album from 1976 “Land of the Midnight Sun” where Lewis contributed one of the most memorable compositions, the opening track “The Wizard” (1st sample below), which has become a DiMeola classic. Lewis' debut album was also originally released in 1976 and it also contains a version of “The Wizard” (2nd sample below). DiMeola’s version of “The Wizard” is melodically stronger, which perhaps suggest that DiMeola might have heard Lewis’ version prior to him releasing his debut album. Nonetheless "Flight Never Ending" is classic 70's fusion much in the style of Return to Forever & Al DiMeola. The music combines the primitive Afro-Cuban rhythms with the newest dimension in progressive rock at the time. It only took 30 years for this recording to appear on CD as it was finally superbly digitally remastered in 2007. Musicians include: Mingo Lewis on percussion and keyboards, David Logeman on drums, Eric McCann on bass, Randy Sellgren on guitar, Michael Kapitan and Kincaid Miller on keyboards, and A. Louis Bramey on hand bells.

In my opinion this is a landmark recording. A somewhat obscure album that should have received more attention in the jazz/rock/fusion category. Featuring the guitar work of Randy Sellgren. Mingo Lewis and Al DiMeola were on pretty much on the same page at this point in time. Al DiMeola had featured Mingo on his "Land of the Midnight Sun" recording from the same year and did so again on his "Elegant Gypsy"(1977)/"Casino"(1978)/"Splendido Hotel"(1980)/"Scenario"(1982)/"Tour De Force"(1982"/"Electric Rendezvous"(1983) recordings. Al DiMeola did a rearrangement of Mingo's "Frankincense" on his "Casino"(Chasin' the Voodoo") lp with Mingo. Anyone who enjoyed DiMeola's work at this time should give Mingo Lewis' "Flight Never Ending" recording a listen. His influence is obvious. In my opinion, once again, all the above is great music from great musicians from a time that has rarely been equaled since.

Great lost fusion music from a great percussionist that has played with a variety of musicians and artists over the years. I have been looking for this album for years and finally someone came out with it on CD.

Delighted to see that Mingo Lewis "Flight Never Ending" is re-issued on cd. As many may know, he was the percussionist on several of Al DiMeola's early solo albums. When this album was released in the mid 70's, it was by far my favorite Fusion album. The track "Heart Song" still holds up. Searing guitar solos, propulsive drumming, synth solos and layered with Latin Percussion. A must have for anyone who enjoys re-visiting musicianship from the Fusion Era.

CD reissue. Mingo Lewis' career spans more than 45 years. He is a percussionist that has performed live and recorded with some of music's greatest names, including Al DiMeola, Santana, Miles Davis, Third World, Billy Joel, The Tubes and Chick Corea's Return To Forever. Flight Never Ending was originally released in 1976 on Columbia Records. This CD consists of searing guitar solos, propulsive drumming and synth solos layered with Latin percussion. A must-have for all who enjoy fusion! This album features two Mingo Lewis compositions recorded by Al DiMeola, 'The Wizard' (on his Land Of The Midnight Sun album) and 'Frankincense' AKA 'Chasin' The Voodoo' (on his Casino album.)

This version has more punch and bass than the 2007 release.

 1. Aba Cua
 2. Frankincense
 3. Heartsong
 4. The Wizard
 5. Visions of Another Time
 6. Trapezoid
 7. Maginary Monsters
 8. Flight Never Ending

Columbia Records, 1976

Mingo Lewis - percussion, synthesizers, congas, clavinet, and vocals
Louis Bramy - percussion, bells, vocals
Mike Kapitan - keyboards, piano, synthesizers, drums vocals
David Logeman - drums
Eric McCann - electric bass
Kincaid Miller - synthesizers, keyboards clavinet
Randy Sellgren - electric guitar, acoustic guitar



  2. I love his compositions, hard to find his recordings. Many thanks.
    Deep River

  3. I remember buying Al's Elegant Gypsy when I was a youngin'... and wondering what a guy named Mingo could possibly look like :). Great album, thanks!


  4. Many thanks for this remaster. Here's another Mingo flight, hope you like it!
    Mingo Lewis 1974-11-09 Record Plant mp3@320

  5. Mingo Lewis 1974-11-09 Record Plant mp3@320 -- gone -((

    If you visit again, please repost mingo at the record plant


    1. here it is again, in all its glory
      Mingo Lewis 1974-11-09 Record Plant

    2. here it is again, in all its glory
      Mingo Lewis 1974-11-09 Record Plant

  6. in all its glory, here it is again ....

    Mingo Lewis 1974-11-09 Record Plant