Two Jazz Legends Unite!
When jazz was soul and soul was jazz, and radio played just about everything that was good, no matter what the genre, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Ramsey Lewis made some of the finest sides of vinyl there was. Spend the night with some of their faves from back in the day, pumping your heart and soul into overdrive, then simmering it on down to a sensual smooth glow.
One of the legendary pianists in the history of jazz, Ramsey Lewis transcends superlative. Classically trained, he has lent his brilliant technique to the vast musical treasures of gospel and blues music, becoming one of the most accessible and widely respected pianists in music. Winner of three Grammy Awards and the recipient of an amazing 7 Gold Records (unheard of in the jazz world), Mr. Lewis is recently the recipient of a number of Lifetime Achievement Awards. He has been granted four Honorary Doctorates, and in 2007 he earned a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.
Lewis began taking lessons at age 4, learning the basics and studying fundamental classical technique and repertoire. He didn’t start playing jazz until age fifteen, when a fellow church musician talked him into joining a local 7-piece group. When several members of the group left for the Korean War, Lewis was left with the bass player and drummer: his first trio. Acutely aware of the power of pop music with younger audiences, Lewis brought those lessons to his early recording sessions: his instrumental versions of “Wade In the Water,” “Hang on Sloopy” and “In With the In Crowd” are as definitive and as popular as the original recordings themselves.
Consistently active in his Chicago community, Mr. Lewis has served as director of the Ravinia Jazz Series since 1992. He is also on the Board of Trustees at the Merit School of Music, an inner-city music program in downtown Chicago, and is a member of the Loyola University Council of Regents. The Ramsey Lewis Morning Show broadcasts weekdays on WNUA-FM Chicago, and is syndicated nationwide, as is his other radio show, “Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis.”
Lewis’ ensembles are always stellar, and his electric sextet is a typically amazing assemblage. Joining Mr. Lewis are keyboardists Edsel Gomez and Tim Gant, guitarist Henry Johnson, bassist Charles Heath and drummer Joshua Ramos.
Dee Dee Bridgewater has been one of the most celebrated vocalists in jazz for over four decades, and her role as ambassador of jazz to the world is growing. Winner of two Grammy awards and a Tony (for her role on Broadway in “The Wiz”), Bridgewater has been involved in an incredible breadth of projects. She broke into the New York scene in the early 1970s as the vocalist with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, one of the hottest tickets in town. Her early years in New York saw her working with Sonny Rollins, Stanley Clarke, Dizzy Gillespie and other heavyweights.
Bridgewater is active today performing in many different venues: several jazz vocal and theater projects, and a nationally syndicated radio show on NPR. Dee Dee Bridgewater continues to be one of the most consistently dazzling consummate entertainers in music.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“…the balance between straightforward and intricate is pretty near perfect.” -BBC
“in a word, astonishing.” -Jazz Times
“…his gospel references were elevated and precise, enlisting a rousing backbeat but never fraying around the edges.” -New York Times