Avon Dews is one of Washington, D.C.’s premier Jazz Harmonicists. A native of Washington, he began his musical career at the age of six. By age twelve, this self-taught musician began to explore his abilities playing his first real musical instrument, the bass guitar. As he grew into his teen years, he traveled the region joining two of his older brothers and a cousin in their family formed band known as “New Elements.” They performed at local community centers and neighborhood events.
Avon dabbled in a variety of creative ventures, such as a ‘professional clown’ performing funny antics and placing smiles on the faces of children and adult audiences. Considering his future and his immediate needs, he decided to accept a position in the transportation industry in the mid-1980s. One ordinary day a friend of his brought him the “Learn How to Play the Harmonica” kit which included an instruction book, cassette tape and a harmonica. With little experience, Avon placed his mouth on the harmonica and before you knew it, he embraced the challenge. His innate senses to progress and develop special techniques enveloped his spirit. The makings of a Jazz Harmonocist was born.
Over time Avon became passionate and driven with his new found love of playing the harmonica. He discovered that with a lot of consistent practice he was able to create beautiful music. His style—a fusion of jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, and rock—was inspired by some of the greats. He began to emulate accomplished and famous harmonica players such as Lee Oskar (War), Toots Thielemans, and Stevie Wonder.
Expanding his musical career, Avon has performed at prestigious events such as the American Market at National Harbor; Arlington, Virginia’s Feel the Heritage Festival; at Maryland Special Olympics’ benefits; various scholarship fund raising functions; and at local church programs. In early 2013 Avon was invited to perform with the popular international American Funk Band, War, at “America’s Legendary Music Hall,” best known as the renowned Birchmere. Avon was also invited to perform during the 2012 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Regularly he performs with local musicians on ‘Blues Monday’ at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.
To his credit in 2008, Mr. Dews founded, ‘Smileydew Entertainment,’ an entertainment company which specializes in organizing musical productions to help promote local bands and vocal entertainers. Many of these events are held at THEARC in Washington, D.C.
Avon’s performances are must see events. Many have experienced and appreciate the beautiful sounds that this self-taught, skilled musician shares using a small rectangular wind instrument—the harmonica. His passion is to perform the music we all love.