Ramsey Lewis – Les Fleurs (1983)

Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr. (born May 27, 1935) is an American jazz composer, pianist and radio personality. Ramsey Lewis has recorded over 80 albums and has received seven gold records and three Grammy Awards so far in his career.

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On this 1983 recording Ramsey and his new trio go for a very intentive sound to try to move onto a new plane after the somewhat uneven Chance Encounter. The results are rather surprising. Rather than go nuts on orchestration,which could be something of a failing for some of Ramsey’s electric work his actually ends up with a sound that blends both Bill Dickens electric bass and his Chicago style piano,which is emphasized on these cuts perhaps more so than any other Ramsey Lewis recording. Using this method he takes on Stevie Wonder’s “Superwoman” and “A House Is Not A Home” and actually does them over up,down and sideways as he takes all kinds of passionate and somewhat risky chordal maneuvers on the keys. That is a lot for a guy who at the time seemed to be playing it safe on the surface.When the production is a bit fuller-the same guest artists appear here that were on the previous album,the groove is more sussinct and the funk has more obvious impact. That is what happens when they get their hands on “Physical”;it takes that Olivia Newton John hit and does with it in the 80’s what Ramsey and his original trio for The In Crowd only difference is the lessons of 70’s/80’s funk rather than soul jazz are at a premium and since the two genres so obviously bled into one another it’s one of those great full circle moments. That and a wonderful interpretation of Chopin’s “Essense Of Love” bring some mild electronics into the mix for an strong sense of 80’s jazz-funk delight and,especially in the classical number it’s great to hear Ramsey again taking the Stevie Wonder mix of funk and European classical harmonics into his own musical universe. Versions of Charles Stepney’s songs “Reasons” and the title cut add a great sense of completion to this:Ramsey obviously never forgot Stepney and for much of his 70’s and 80’s musical journey included at least one of his songs on each album. “With A Gentle Touch” has a similar sound even if it is not a Stepney song but it gets the same romantic slow groove flavor.So if you like 80’s jazz-funk with that multi faceted tempo,rhythms and especially if you want tasteful electronics added to this mix this might just be the album for you.

Tracklist

A1.  Super Woman (Where Were You When I Needed You)  – 7:03
A2.  A House Is Not A Home  – 6:08
A3.  Essence Of Love  – 8:13

B1.  Les Fleurs  – 6:50
B2.  Physical  – 6:14
B3.  With A Gentle Touch  – 4:28
B4.  Reasons   – 4:52

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes

Release Date: 1983
Recorded at PS recording Studio, Chicago, Illinois
Remixed at Larrabbee Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Duration: 43:57
Genre:  Jazz, Pop/Rock
Styles:  Soul Jazz, Easy Listening

A3: Adapted from “Prelude in E Minor, Opus 28, No.4” by F.Chopin.

Label – Columbia Records

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