Born: April 16, 1956
Instruments: Piano, Keyboards
Keyboard player T Lavitz joined the Dixie Dregs in 1979, just after Night of the Living Dregs. He played with the band until it broke up in 1982. As a solo artist, he has released Mood Swing for Nova Records.
- John Bush (All Music Guide)
T Lavitz began his intensive study of classical and jazz piano at age seven. At the same time, the Beatles invaded America, igniting in T a lifelong love of rock music.
By twenty-two, he was asked to join the "rock, jazz, and everything else" instrumental band, the Dixie Dregs. It was a dream come true, because they were one of his favorite bands, even at that relatively early stage in their career.
This first taste of fame happened during the last few days of 1978, lasting until the band split in 1983, by which time T had been voted "Best New Talent" in Keyboard Magazine's readers poll and the band had garnered four Grammy nominations.
Since then, T has released eight albums as a leader, consisting mostly of his own compositions. Additionally, T produced the cult favorite, "Players," which features stellar performances by Jeff Berlin, Steve Smith, and Scott Henderson. Some of the artists featured on T's other albums include fellow "Dregs" Steve Morse, Jerry Goodman, Rod Morgenstein, Dave LaRue and Mark O'Connor, as well as college alumni Danny Gottlieb and Bruce Hornsby. Other contributions have also been made by Alex Ligertwood, Maria Muldaur, Jeff Richman, Michael McDonald, Paul Barrere, Catfish Hodge, Oteil Burbidge, Dennis Chambers and many more.
In addition to the Dixie Dregs, T has performed around the world with Widespread Panic, Mothers Finest, Jefferson Starship, Billy Cobham, and Bill Bruford. As the list of critically acclaimed recordings grows, T says some of his favorite sessions were done with Nils Lofgren, Pat Benatar, The Bluesbusters, Peter Himmelman and perhaps most fondly "...I'll always be a Dreg".
On Valentine's weekend 1992, the Dixie Dregs did a live reunion album for the newly reformed Capricorn Records in Atlanta, Georgia. "Bring 'em Back Alive" and the subsequent "Full Circle" studio disc each garnered Grammy nominations (bringing the total to six), and earning T the coveted "Jazz Keyboardist of the Year" award in Keyboard Magazine's readers poll.
T was also a founding member of Jazz is Dead, an instrumental exploration into the music of the Grateful Dead. T has been joined in this project by Rod Morgenstein, Billy Cobham, Jeff Sipe, Alphonso Johnson, guitarists Jimmy Herring and Jeff Pevar and most recently, bassist Dave Livolsi. The band now boasts three CD's, "Blue Light Rain," "Laughing Water" and "Great Sky River," all of which are available on Zebra/Warner Bros., and a new as yet untitled studio album.
The last week of August 1999, the Dixie Dregs were reunited again for six shows, at which time a new album, "California Screamin'" was recorded at the Roxy in Hollywood, California. The guys had such a good time together that a commitment was made to hit the road for a new tour early in 2000, and each subsequent year as well. The latest "run" of Dregs dates took place in California, during the first week of Jaunary 2007.
Along with his various other projects and live dates, T is also a part time faculty member at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, and has an instructional book/CD (2007) published by the industry leading Hal Leonard Publishing company.
Back in the studio at the start of 2007, the music for "School of the Arts" was composed. "This is some of my best stuff in a looong time" Lavitz says. Released in October of 2007, this is his first for Magnatude (Magna Carta) Records, and boasts an allstar cast which consists of Dave Weckl, John Patitucci, Frank Gambale, Steve Morse and Jerry Goodman. Regarding this lineup, the response from Lavitz is "...honored to have my music played by guys like this!"
As for the future, T says, "I hope I can continue to play music that's fun to play and is appreciated by all sorts of people. I feel fortunate that I keep on playing with musicians who have something to say."