A Man Called Ramsey

Just the name itself signifies something butting up against something else. Ramsey Lewis may very well rank as one of the most successful jazz artists of all time. A monster pianist, Ramsey has been bucking the system from the word go and has long straddled the fence of pop-oriented jazz and pop music. He was able to build up a large following in the 60's because of his style and approach to his craft. This is truly the mark of a successful artist. His following continues to this day and the master shows no sign of stopping or slowing down.

In the early days Ramsey recorded with Max Roach and Lim Winchester. This was strong jazz content. It was the 1965 debut of The In Crowd and Hang On that made the piano a contender for center stage. This of course caused Ramsey to move in a more pop-oriented direction that has continued to the present. One of my favorites cuts of the time period is Les Fleurs. It's an interesting sound which is beautiful and thoughtful to a fault.

The journey of Ramsey Lewis has been en exciting collaboration with some of the most notable talents in the industry. From Nancy Wilson to Earth Wind and Fire Ramsey Lewis has been blazing trails for over half a lifetime. Versatile in his approach Ramsey turned to the electric piano in the 1970's. The synthesis of Ramsey and Earth Wind and Fire produced a tour de force in the recording of Sun Goddess. If you haven't already done so check this cut out. If it's an old, fond memory already in your collection dust it off. There are excellent elements of jazz and pop enjoyable on every level of music appreciation. Ramsey is no stranger to melodic jazz and can make the transition at will. His choice to remain true to the easy listening and pop genre is only a testament of what the truly gifted represent. This is the ability to call their own shots and chart their own destinies.

Check out his 2004 release of Time Flies. This is a nostalgic walk through time, with some of his most popular songs recorded again with a fresh take.

Ramsey Lewis is a class act. If you are fortunate enough to catch him in concert you won't be disappointed. The delivery is as brilliant as ever and the smile of a man in love with his craft gracefully and warmly fills the expanse.

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