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Ramsey Lewis: Life is Good

Read "Ramsey Lewis: Life is Good" reviewed by Jacob Blickenstaff

Some jazz aficionados might characterize pianist Ramsey Lewis' music as a gateway into more serious jazz, as if popular Lewis albums like The In Crowd (Verve, 1965) were meant to lead novice listeners to saxophonist Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come(Atlantic, 1959). But Lewis' commercial successes should not be viewed as a liability to his legacy in jazz history. Just as Coleman did, Lewis has done what only a few great musicians of his generation have done: he's ...

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Ramsey Lewis: Songs from the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey

Read "Songs from the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey" reviewed by Tom Greenland

Whether considering his style jazzy pop or popular jazz, Chicagoan Ramsey Lewis has always kept one foot firmly in the jazz mainstream, often tapping to a gospel beat. Here the pianist has recorded an all-original set that will satisfy both audiences by mixing classical elegance with blues preaching. Backed by veteran colleagues, bassist Larry Gray's technical prowess and drummer Leon Joyce's exuberant beats perfectly complement their leader's serene composure.

Culling tunes he wrote for the ballet To Know Her..., and ...

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Ramsey Lewis: Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis: Showcase

Read "Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis: Showcase" reviewed by Greg Thomas

Jazz is virtually nonexistent on network television. Pianist and broadcaster Ramsey Lewis has addressed this vacuum with the PBS program Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis. This Showcase CD/DVD set serves as a sampler of performances from the series. The end result is a patchwork of genres. Benny Golson captivates on the classic “Killer Joe ; Clark Terry's “Mumbles is hilarious. Seeing Ivan Lins perform his Brazilian hit “The Island is moving. Solo piano pieces by Chick ...

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Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis: Showcase: Various Artists

Read "Various Artists" reviewed by Jim Santella

Providing highlights from Legends of Jazz, this Showcase serves as a great introduction to the 2006 PBS television series. This CD/DVD package captures quite a few of the musical performances from the thirteen half-hour episodes, apparently selecting the best parts.

The CD features Al Jarreau and Kurt Elling improvising on “Take Five in a spontaneous setting. Chris Botti interprets “My Funny Valentine with his heart worn on his shirtsleeve. Marcus Miller, George Duke and Lee Ritenour plow through ...

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Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis: Season One

Read "Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis: Season One" reviewed by Jim Santella

Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis Season One Public Broadcasting Service 2006

Starting on April 3rd, with specific dates and times varying across the country, season one of Legends of Jazz gets going with a bang. The first thirty-minute episode features three great jazz trumpeters who are all quite active on the jazz scene today: Clark Terry, Roy Hargrove and Chris Botti.

Ramsey Lewis hosts each episode with the kind ...

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Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis

Read "Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis A PBS television series LRSmedia & WTTW National Productions 2005

Here's cause for great celebration: for the first time in forty years, a American national network will air a weekly program devoted to jazz. Quite naturally, it's going to be on public television; expect an opening one-hour special and thirteen subsequent half-hour episodes, all hosted by Ramsey Lewis and featuring different musical guests in performance and ...

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Ramsey Lewis: Love Songs

Read "Love Songs" reviewed by Jason Elias

Sometimes it's a good idea to do a Love Songs compilation. This is one of those times. Ramsey Lewis was signed to Columbia from 1973 to 1991. Of course, during those times, jazz went through many changes, and Lewis was certainly ready for them all. Easily moving from acoustic to electric piano to whatever synths were in fashion, Lewis never lost his charm or musical identity, although “Spiderman" and “Breaker Beat" certainly cut it close.

No worries and ...

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The Ramsey Lewis Trio: The Sound Of Christmas

Read "The Sound Of Christmas" reviewed by David Rickert

Those who purchase a Christmas album are mainly looking for festive music suitable for decorating the tree or baking cookies and not an introspective, challenging listening experience. Thus an artist who records such a record must take into account what the audience wants to hear and not his own musical aspirations, which may be why Mingus and Miles never recorded one. Ramsey Lewis, however, is the perfect guy for such a task, since he always approached playing jazz from the ...

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Ramsey Lewis Trio: Time Flies

Read "Time Flies" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

The latest album from the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Time Flies, revisits several Lewis benchmark recordings in addition to presenting new compositions. While I cannot say that Ramsey Lewis has come full circle since his late-1950s albums, it is indeed a pleasure to hear him in primarily a mainstream jazz setting again.

While much of the population marks “The In Crowd" in 1965 as ground zero for Lewis' popularity, I strongly recommend his recordings during the late '50s and ...

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Ramsey Lewis & Nancy Wilson: Meant to Be

Read "Meant to Be" reviewed by AAJ Staff

"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 ...

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Ramsey Lewis and Nancy Wilson: Meant To Be

Read "Meant To Be" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

The careers of singer Nancy Wilson and pianist Ramsey Lewis have followed parallel lines since the early 1960s. Although both began as jazz artists, they soon found greater fame and fortune in contemporary pop and have rarely looked back since. In 1982, Mr. Lewis and Ms. Wilson teamed up for a vapid, forgettable collection of smooth jazz/contemporary pop called The Two of Us. For jazz fans, the record represented all the wrong turns taken by these two obviously talented musicians. ...

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Ramsey Lewis: Dance of the Soul

Read "Dance of the Soul" reviewed by Robert Spencer

Here's Ramsey Lewis doin' his thing, and even after all these years, nobody does it as ably or as amiably as Ramsey. On this disc there are, among the soloists, a fine trumpeter and an interesting guitarist, but the advance release leaves them anonymous. In any case, kudos to all. “Baile del Alma (Dance of the Soul)" is pleasingly jazzy. It thrusts ahead without any nonsense, but the (again anonymous) drumming is scattershot and inventive, instead of resorting to pallid ...