Classic Hits & Oldies

Former Ambrosia keyboardist David Cutler Lewis passes away; musicians pay tribute

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Ambrosia, David Cutler Lewis second from left; Courtesy of Warner Bros.

David Cutler Lewis, a dynamic keyboardist who played with Ambrosia and the New Age group Shadowfax, died earlier this week, reportedly of brain cancer.

Lewis’ death was announced Monday in a Facebook post by founding Ambrosia bassist/singer Joe Puerta, who wrote, “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.”

Lewis joined Ambrosia in 1978, and contributed to three of the band’s studio albums — 1978’s Life Beyond L.A., 1980’s One Eighty and 1982’s Road Island. He was featured on two of Ambrosia’s biggest hits, “Biggest Part of Me” and “You’re the Only Woman (You & I),” which peaked at #3 and #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively, in 1980.

After leaving Ambrosia in 1982, Lewis played with Shadowfax from 1984 to 1990, and won a Best New Age Performance with the group for the 1988 album Folksongs for a Nuclear Village.

David rejoined Ambrosia for a few years during the 2000s.

Former Ambrosia frontman David Pack penned a heartfelt tribute to Lewis that reads, in part, “David was a gift from God for Ambrosia. He helped take our music to a higher place at the perfect time….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.”

Meanwhile, Michael McDonald, who got to know Lewis when The Doobie Brothers toured with Ambrosia decades ago, called David “a talented musician who brought a lot of joy to a lot of people.”

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