Ramsey Lewis & Nancy Wilson: Meant to Be (2002)
"Meant to be" indeed! After years of playing and performing together, two of the jazz world’s most underappreciated contemporary legends have once again gotten it together enough to get together on record, and the results are well intended to say the least. The album is a bit misnomered, however, for though both stars get their names above the title, only one appears on every track. In fact, Wilson wraps her worn but wonderfully willing cords around fewer than half of the selections, making herself more of a featured highlight than an equal partner. Still, highlights they are!
The opening skinning of "Peel Me a Grape" could teach Diana Krall a thing or two about how it’s really done. On the other hand, Wilson uses "Did I Ever Really Live" to demonstrate the lessons she has learned from Jimmy Scott. "Moondance" and "Piano in the Dark" are both squeaky but soulful, and "First Time Love" takes Ms. Wilson out in a romantic whisper. Otherwise, this is a Ramsey Lewis album not that that is a bad thing! Except for Fareed Haque’s "Tranquilissimo," all of the other compositions — from the rhythmic keys and ribboned bass on "Truthfully," to the smooth and gentle trio work of "Velvet Night" — are credited to Ramsel Publishing Co., making Wilson’s contributions enticing interludes that pull listeners through some of the mellower moods Lewis sets alone.
Track Listing: 1. First Time Love 2. Meant to Be 3. Moondance 4. Peel Me a Grape 5. Truthfully 6. A Moment Alone 7. Velvet Night 8. Did I Ever Really Live 9. Piano in the Dark 10. Tanquissimo 11. Time Peace