StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Six from Ramsey Lewis


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This week, our video spotlight shines on the veteran pianist Ramsey Lewis, who's coming back to St. Louis to perform on Saturday, November 7 for the annual “ArtSounds" fundraiser at the Sheldon Concert Hall. (As with many of their fundraising events, the Sheldon also is offering a concert-only ticket option for those who just want to hear the music.)

Lewis was here most recently in March of this year to play a private gig at the Ferring Jazz Bistro, and wound up adding one public performance to his stay. Before that, he also did a four-night run back in November 2011 at the Bistro, at which time he and some of his best-known songs were the subject of a previous video post.

This upcoming show nominally celebrates the 50th anniversary of the release of The In Crowd, but since our previous post already covered that tune, “Sun Goddess" and other familiar favorites from the pianist's catalog, today you can see him playing completely different material touching on several different styles, from Brazilian music to gospel.

Speaking of Brazilian music, the first video up above features “Brazilica," a song first recorded by Lewis for his 1976 album Solongo and seen here in a version from the 2013 Jazz à Vienne festival in Vienne, France.

After the jump, Lewis stretches out a bit on “You Are The Reason," recorded in 1980 in Montreal with longtime guitarist Henry Johnson plus Greg Williams on bass and Frank Donaldson on drums.

After that, you can see three performances from Lewis' 1990 band with Johnson, Steve Cobb (drums), Mike Logan (keyboard), and Chuck Webb (bass), starting with a medley of spirituals that are given Lewis' distinctive touch, followed by versions of Stevie Wonder's “Livin' for the City," and the standard “Stella by Starlight."

Last by not least, there's a full show by Lewis and his Electric Band, recorded in 2011 at the Jazz San Javier festival in San Javier, Spain.

For more on what Ramsey Lewis has been up to recently, check out his interview on Jazziz magazine's podcast, released earlier this month.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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