Earth Wind and Fire. The Prequel: Ramsey Lewis

Ramsey Lewis

Ramsey Lewis

A little while ago I wrote about how I used to stare at the Ohio Players Honey album, whenever I (frequently) visited record stores as a lad.  Another record that inevitably caught my attention was Salongo by Ramsey Lewis, the jazz keyboardist from Chicago.

 

The cover photo of Mr Lewis, smiling widely with his braces a-shining and his face made up like a kathakali dancer, was and is irresistible.  In an era when America’s great music, jazz, was all but dead as a commercial enterprise, Salongo was just the antidote.  Funky, groovy and smooth all at once, it is not difficult to discern the hand of producer Maurice White.  A former drummer in Lewis’s trio, White was soon to scale R&B and disco summits as the leader of Earth, Wind and Fire.  The opening track, Slick, the title track and Brazilica are all wonderfully vibrant with complex and (for the time, 1976) slightly exotic sounds.

 

If you, like me, always liked the cover but never bought the record, now’s the time.

Salongo

Track Listing

01 Slick

02 Aufu Oodu

03 Rubato

04 Salongo

05 Brazilica

06 Nicole

07 Seventh Fold

 

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