Saturday, March 11 | 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 | 9:00 p.m.
Winter/Spring 2017 Concert Series
One of the legendary pianists in the history of jazz, Ramsey Lewis transcends superlative. Classically trained, he has lent his brilliant technique to the vast musical treasures of gospel and blues music, becoming one of the most accessible and widely respected pianists in music. Lewis is acclaimed for giving pop and gospel tunes a jazz treatment. He is the winner of three GRAMMY Awards and the recipient of an amazing seven gold albums. He has been granted four honorary doctorates, and in 2007 he earned a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.
Lewis began taking piano lessons at age four, learning the basics and studying fundamental classical technique and repertoire. He did not start playing jazz until age fifteen, when a fellow church musician talked him into joining a local seven-piece ensemble. When several members of the group left for the Korean War, Lewis was left with the bass player and drummer, his first trio. Acutely aware of the power of pop music with younger audiences, Lewis brought those lessons to his early recording sessions. His instrumental versions of “Wade in the Water,” “Hang on Sloopy,” and “In with the In Crowd” are as definitive and as popular as the original recordings themselves.
“His gospel references were elevated and precise, enlisting a rousing backbeat but never fraying around the edges.”—New York Times
“What distinguishes Mr. Lewis from most jazz pianists is his seductive use of dynamics paired with a gospel-rooted rhythmic pulse. His sermon-like approach to the keyboard is gentle and hushed, resulting in delicate and highly melodic interpretations.”—Wall Street JournalBack to Concerts