Born in South Florida, Pete "Chef" Lavezzoli,
with a style of combining an old-school rock and R&B
backbeat with a progressive rock and jazz edge, is the drummer for Melvin
Seals & the Jerry Garcia Band. He has performed with Phil Lesh & Friends including with John Mayer; singer-songwriter Peter Rowan; jazz guitarist Randy Bernsen; jazz and rock guitarist Bobby
Lee Rodgers (Code Talkers, Colonel Bruce Hampton); and blues guitarist Albert Castiglia (Junior Wells, Sandra Hall), among others.
Peter shared his recording talents on the drumkit
to Donna Jean Godchaux in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, at the Nutthouse Recording Studio on Godchaux's Back Around. In Miami, Lavezzoli recorded at George Noriega's Cutting Cane Studios on Bobby Lee Rodgers' album BLR. In the words of Grammy-winning producer/composer George Noriega: "I had the pleasure of having Peter Lavezzoli record at Cutting Cane Studios, and felt his unbelievable pocket first hand. Peter has that rare combination of skill, feel, and sensitivity. His playing is always just what is called for by the singer, the song, and the groove. Not too hot, not too cold. Pete's drumming is just right."
In the early '90s, Lavezzoli co-founded Florida's Grateful
Dead tribute band Crazy Fingers, where he continues as both
drummer and lead vocalist for the band. For almost 30 years, Crazy Fingers
has performed at venues and festivals
sharing the stage with acts ranging from The Band to Warren Haynes, the Radiators, Jefferson Starship,
and Ziggy Marley.
Additionally, Lavezzoli is a respected music historian
and award-winning author with two books to date, both published
by Bloomsbury Books of New York & London. The King of All,
Sir Duke (2001) explores the legacy of Duke Ellington in modern
jazz, rock, and R&B music. The Dawn of Indian Music in
the West (2006) -- with a Foreword by Ravi Shankar -- tells
the story of Shankar and Indian music's pivotal impact on rock and
jazz (including interviews with Shankar, Zakir Hussain, John McLaughlin, Mickey
Hart, Philip Glass, and others). This book won the ARSC (Association
of Recorded Sound) award in 2007 for Best Historical Research, and
was published in India by HarperCollins in 2009 as Bhairavi: The Global Impact of Indian Music.
Always the student himself, Lavezzoli has made numerous
trips to India, where he studied Indian rhythm theory with Tanmoy
Bose, tabla player for Ravi Shankar. He has played drumset in Tanmoy’s
Indo-jazz group Taal Tantra, both on Indian TV and in music festivals
throughout India. Lavezzoli has also studied Indian classical vocal
techniques with Uma Lacombe, a teacher and disciple of the Dagar
family of singers, and applies some of the unique qualities of Indian
classical singing to his work as a vocalist.
Sharing his talents with the community,
Lavezzoli has utilized his reading voice in voluntary
service to the Blind since 2003. He is a narrator for the US Library of Congress,
recording books on tape for the visually impaired with the
Library's Talking Books program at Insight For the Blind. Lavezzoli has often donated his time
and music collection to Miami's jazz stations WLRN and WDNA, hosting special programs on legendary jazz
artists from Duke Ellington and Miles Davis to John Coltrane
and Sun Ra.
Staying active in education, Lavezzoli is a former faculty instructor and show director for
the School of Rock, and contnues to give special Master Classes at the School of Rock today.