Raised in California, Lewis recorded or performed with standout musicians such as Bobby Hutcherson, Harold Land, Stanley Turrentine, Bill Evans, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Les McCann and -- briefly -- John Coltrane, the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis reported Wednesday.
Lewis founded the Jazz Studies Program at New College of California in San Francisco where he taught for 15 years, ending in 2002 when he married and moved to Minneapolis, where he still performed.
Lewis, who died of cancer Friday, is survived by his wife Ruth, a daughter, granddaughter and two brothers, the newspaper said.
"He was a wonderful bass player and a wonderful human being," said Kenny Horst, a jazz drummer and owner of the Artists Quarter club in St. Paul. "He had a big round, warm tone when he played that exemplified his personality."