In 1965, Chicago jazz pianist, Ramsey Lewis had a hit record—‘The In Crowd’ (by The Ramsey Lewis Trio, featuring drummer Redd Holt and bassist, Eldee Young). Since that time, Lewis has recorded over 80 albums. He has also hosted the popular Legends Of Jazz radio and television series’. Now, at age 74, Ramsey Lewis is reveling in his relatively new career as a composer.
In 2006, Lewis was asked to write a score for the Joffrey Ballet. This, as he tells Jazz24/KPLU music director, Nick Francis, in this interview, was his first serious attempt at composing and has been a great inspiration; enough of an inspiration to spur him to make his first new trio recording in five years.
However, even though he has opened new creative doors for himself, it hasn’t changed his views on how to present jazz in ways that will attract larger audiences and he expands on those views in this interview.
Along with this interesting conversation, we’ll hear Ramsey Lewis play three beautiful solo piano pieces including Clouds In Reverie from his new CD (a composition based on part of his ballet score) and two songs he’s never recorded, In The Still Of The Night and a very impromptu, very beautiful version of Lennon/McCartney’s, Here There And Everywhere.