Ramsey Lewis: Songs from the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey

RIYL: The Jazz Crusaders, George Duke, Joe Sample

Jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis shows no sign of slowing down. Now in his mid-70s, Lewis not only continues to be active in the jazz world, he keeps writing and recording new material along the way. Lewis’ latest, and his debut on Concord Jazz, Songs from the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey, is just that – Lewis playing his own material. It’s either tracks he had been previously commissioned to write for ballet or for other artists such as Turtle Island Quartet, or just his own creations to be performed with his trio. And this record, with Ramsey on piano, Larry Gray on bass and Leon Joyce on drums, while simple in instrumentation, is complex in every other way. It’s also the kind of record you might play on a rainy weekend afternoon to forget about all of your troubles, or maybe about everything else you were supposed to get done. Lewis has a way of dynamically creating moods with each piece, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a jazz aficionado or just a weekend jazz warrior (we suspect most of our readers are the latter), you can’t help but appreciate Ramsey Lewis’ music like a fine wine. In fact, uncorking a bottle after putting it on isn’t a bad idea, either. (Concord Jazz 2009)

Ramsey Lewis website