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.
After having played mostly in an acoustic trio for the last fifteen years, Lewis’ latest endeavor has him returning to his electric roots. Lewis’ latest recording, “Taking Another Look,” features a new electric quintet with Henry Johnson on guitar, Michael Logan on keys, Joshua Ramos on bass and Charles Heath on drums. On the ten song CD, Lewis rekindles his 1974 career-defining album “Sun Goddess” through a collection of re-recorded tracks from the original disc perfectly balanced with five new tunes.
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.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“…the balance between straightforward and intricate is pretty near perfect.” -BBC
“…his gospel references were elevated and precise, enlisting a rousing backbeat but never fraying around the edges.” -New York Times