323

Ramsey Lewis: Songs from the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey

Tom Greenland By

Sign in to view read count
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 from a suite for piano trio and string quartet, Lewis presents them in pared-down versions. Tracks like the episodic "To Know Her is to Love Her," the lush, through-composed "Clouds in Reverie," the uptown swagger of "The Way She Smiles" and a pensive solo rendition of "Long Before She Knew"—all from the ballet—demonstrate his encyclopedic grasp of voicings and techniques, delicately expressing his train of musical thought. Rounding out the menu are numbers like "The Spark," "Conversation" and "Rendezvous," varying the mood from gentle to festive.

Live at New York's BB King's (Nov. 28, 2009) only confirmed that little, if anything, of what this talented trio plays needs fixing in the mix. Revisiting "To Know Her," "The Way She Smiles" and "Conversation" along with an arrangement of a movement from Brahms' second symphony, by the fifth number, a Ray Charles-style rendition of "Wade in the Water," things got funky and stayed that way, segueing through spirituals like "Precious Lord," Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" and "Motherless Child" as well as snippets of soul-jazz standards like "On Broadway," "Listen Hear" and "After Hours." The encore, starting with an obligatory stab at "The In Crowd," followed by a succession of bluesy vamps, more than satisfied the house.


Track Listing: To Know Her Is to Love Her; Touching, Feeling, Knowing; Clouds in Reverie; The Spark; Conversation; The Way She Smiles; Exhilaration; The Glow of Her Charm; Rendezvous; Long Before She Knew; Sharing Her Journey; Watercolors.

Personnel: Ramsey Lewis: piano; Larry Gray: bass; Leon Joyce: drums.

Title: Songs From The Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Way of It CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Tag Book CD/LP/Track Review Tag Book
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Hide Ye Idols CD/LP/Track Review Hide Ye Idols
by Troy Collins
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Spavati, Mozda Sanjati CD/LP/Track Review Spavati, Mozda Sanjati
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Instrumental" CD/LP/Track Review Instrumental
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties" CD/LP/Track Review The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Triplicate" CD/LP/Track Review Triplicate
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Malnoia" CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Any Other Way" CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor