Hamlin received his MA from Towson University. He created an elementary band series titled CalypsoJoe, was a member of the Left Bank Jazz Society, performed with the Baltimore Symphony, and worked closely with the Peabody Institute. In 1983, Hamlin established the Lewis Hamlin Orchestra performing on the northern and southern eastern coasts. In 1985, he recorded a series of his favorite standards with his daughter, Deborah-Patrice Hamlin, vocalist and historian of American and African American history. It is the only extant studio recording of Hamlin Brown and includes classic standards such as Misty, On a Clear Day, and Stormy Monday.
Hamlin inspired many young musicians to pursue and master their "ax." Wendell Shepherd
(trumpet), Jay Moody (drums), Ray Gaskins (saxophonist/keyboards), Reggie Wells (piano), Carroll DeShield (base), Phil Stencil (piano) and Daryl Dickerson (drums) to name a few. He also performed with fellow teacher-musicians such as Charles Anderson, Charles Funn, Donna Sherrod, Mr. George, Mr. Flapp, and Bill Clark among others, and gave tirelessly to the Baltimore City Cultural Arts Programs, a scholarship for which was named in his honor.
Lew was also an entrepreneur. He established a mobile food truck known as "Lew's Snowballs." From miles and neighborhoods around, children could be found waiting and listening for the "jingle" of Mr. Lew's blue truck that he kept fully stocked with sweet syrup for snowballs, candy, and cookies. Prior to his death, Lew shared that seeing the smile on the children's faces after having that first taste of his snowballs on a hot day made his day a lot cooler.
For many, Lew was Mr. Cool, known by his slow, but steady stride and dark sunglasses. But after a long and illustrious music career, Hamlin succumbed to congestive heart failure on November 23, at Baltimore County Hospital. Of the many mourners, James Brown, in an interview upon learning of Hamlin's death, stated that "he was a fine guy As a Musical he was plus, and he always gave 2,000 percent. As a human he was the same He could take my ideas and carry them out, Oh he was super. He made a song with me called "Thing in G...." He is gone in body, but not in spirit." (Macon Metro Times, November 1991).