The fourth album on Narada Jazz from Ramsey Lewis, Time Flies is in effect a contemporary redo of his career. The themes that have been important in his music over the decades are each given some room (thus, there are classical, gospel, … see full wiki
In the interest of full disclosure let me begin by stating that I have absolutely no qualifications to review a jazz album. I do not seem to have an ear for jazz. I don't understand it and for the most part I don't enjoy it. I hate improvisation. Having said all that I found that I really did enjoy the music of Ramsey Lewis during his heydey in the 1960's. I bought many of his great Chess singles and still play his Greatest Hits collection from time to time. So when I came across his 2004 CD "Time Flies" a few years ago I thought it might be fun to give it a listen.
There are 11 tracks on "Time Flies" offering a wide variety of musical styles. Two classical pieces are included here as well as several of Ramsey's own compositions. While I enjoyed the classical pieces they were not my favorite tracks by a long shot. It is not surprising that the two Lewis compositions I enjoyed most were "Open My Heart" and "Hosanna". These tracks have a definite R&B/gospel influence and were backed by stunning vocals from the Chicago Gospel Voices. An A+ on both of these tracks! What really prompted me to purchase this disc however, was the chance to hear brand new arrangements of two of the Ramsey Lewis Trio's biggest hits. While I enjoyed "Wade In The Water" I think I prefer the original version. However, I did find the new version of "The In Crowd" to be superb. Obviously it is different but it is every bit as good as the original. Overall I would say that "Time Flies" was not quite what I expected. It is quite a bit more mellow than I thought it would be. I anticipated more uptempo stuff. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed hearing the music of Ramsey Lewis once again more than forty years after he came onto the scene. Recommended!
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