A pair of late Columbia gems from Ramsey Lewis – back to back on a single CD! Routes features Ramsey Lewis in two modes – both of them great! The set's got Ramsey working with two different producers, each on a different side of the record – and both of them bring a nice inflection to the soul
ful groove that Lewis had already developed at Columbia Records! Side one's done with Larry Dunn, who brings in some Earth Wind & Fire
talent in the studio – and puts Ramsey in that tight, funky, soul
-based groove he always did so well with the group – cast here in that great Columbia Records blend of acoustic piano and electric backings, which always seemed to create a deeper soul
than other fusion modes of the time. Side two features Allen Toussaint working with Ramsey – definitely bringing up some New Orleans funk influences from the Crescent City – yet also keeping things nicely electric too, very much in the mode that Toussaint used best at Warner Brothers at the end of the 70s. Titles include "Whisper Zone", "High Point", "Looking Glass", "Come Back Jack", "Hell On Wheels", and "Colors In Space". Three Piece Suite is filled with stellar grooves from the great Ramsey Lewis – a set that has the pianist teaming up with Chicago soul
arranger Tom Tom 84, in a wonderful fusion of jazz solos and R&B rhythms! The style's never too smooth, and never that commercial – always served up with that level of class and sophistication that made Ramsey a winner right from the start – and still very much in the forefront with a record like this! Tom Tom brings a nice depth to the record, and avoids any too-smooth cliches – and the Ramsey's lead lines are often acoustic, which makes for a nice mix with the electric rhythms of the backdrops. Titles include "Love Is", "Will You", "Michelle", "Don't Ever Go Away", "Expansions", and "She's Out Of My Life".