Mel Lewis (1929-1990) first picked up his father's drumsticks at the age of two. At 17 he was a full-time professional musician. The View from the Back of the Band is the first biography of this legendary jazz drummer. For over 50 years, Lewis provided the blueprint for how a drummer could subtly support any musical situation. While he made his name with Stan Kenton and Thad Jones, and with his band at the Village Vanguard, it was the hundreds of recordings that he made as a sideman and his ability to mentor young musicians that truly defined his career.