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Dance of the Soul

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Album Review

One of his more memorable GRP dates of the 1990s, Dance of the Soul finds Ramsey Lewis playing mostly acoustic piano on a variety of material. The CD's main focus is accessible, yet creative, jazz-pop, though Lewis detours into gospel on "Mercy and Grace," classical on the acoustic solo piano piece "Cante Hondo (Deep Song)," and jazzy R&B on a remake of Teena Marie's 1981 gem "Portuguese Love" (which features the big-voiced singer Donica Henderson). The Chicagoan has some nice solos on melodic instrumentals like "Sub Dude," "Cancion," and the Joe Sample-ish "Love's Serenade," all of which demonstrate that commercial jazz-pop can be creative as well as highly accessible. In fact, these are the sorts of instrumentals one should use to turn pop and R&B fans on to jazz — they're easy to absorb, but have a lot more substance than the type of mindless "elevator Muzak" that many pop instrumentalists favored in the 1990s. Although not a masterpiece, Dance of the Soul is a decent effort that has more ups than downs.

Biography

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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Dance of the Soul, Ramsey Lewis
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