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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Ramsey Lewis

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Album Review

Ramsey Lewis broke through to widespread commercial success with his trio's rendition of "The 'In' Crowd" in 1965, and he continued to put instrumental treatments of pop hits into the charts for another five years, many of which repeated the live club atmosphere (complete with rough singalongs) and kinetic rhythms of his first and biggest hit. This period in his career is recalled on this midline-priced best-of, drawn from his Argo and Cadet Records catalog, which begins with "The 'In' Crowd" and goes on to include hit treatments of such '60s standards as "Hang on Sloopy," "Up Tight (Everything's Alright)," and "A Hard Day's Night" performed in a similar style. All of the pianist's Top 40 hits are included, as well as some down-chart items and LP tracks. The party atmosphere is maintained throughout, except for Lewis' last Cadet hit, a version of the Beatles' "Julia" that uses an elaborate string chart. Despite Lewis' instrumental inventiveness, jazz fans may decry the commercial aspect of this material, but this is the music he is best known for.


Born: May 27, 1935 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Pianist and composer Ramsey Lewis has been a major figure in contemporary jazz since the late 1950s, playing music with a warm, open personality that's allowed him to cross over to the pop and R&B charts. Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 27, 1935, and was introduced to music by his father, who directed the choir at a local church and enjoyed the music of Duke Ellington and Art Tatum. Lewis began studying the piano when he was four years old, and was soon accompanying the choir at Sunday...
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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Ramsey Lewis, Ramsey Lewis
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