Four later Columbia albums from Ramsey Lewis – all pretty darn great! Legacy
is an overlooked gem from Ramsey's 70s years at Columbia – a record that has him grooving over larger arrangements, sweeping along in a great blend of soul and class that makes for some really great numbers! Side one of the album features Ramsey playing keyboards on the extended "Legacy
" suite – a long piece composed and conducted by James Mack, which has Ramsey running through a lot of different moods and modes – some of them nice and funky! Side two features some nice shorter tracks – all electric groovers with plenty of funky keys! Titles include "Moogin On", "Don't Look Back", "Well Well Well", and "All The Way Live". Ramsey is a sweet late 70s groover from Ramsey – not as all-out electric as some of his earlier work for Columbia, but done with some nice arrangements that have a full and soulful feel! There's a bit of Kalimba/
Earth Wind & Fire soul to the mix – and some tracks have production by James Mack and soulful backing vocals by Kitty & The Heywoods – both elements of which serve to provide a nice platform for Ramsey to soar over the top on Steinway. A few cuts feature a bit of electric keys, but overall, the style's in that "acoustic solo instrument over electric backings – in the manner that 70s mainstream fusion was using heavily at the time. Titles include "Dancin", "I'll Always Dream About You", "Every Chance I Get", and "I Just Can't Give You Up". Live At The Savoy is, as you might guess, a live set, but one that's got some wonderfully rich grooves – almost one of the first times that Ramsey's excellent studio approach was attempted on record in a concert setting! The backings are quite full, and produced beautifully here by Tom Tom 84 – who really keeps a classy Chicago vibe in place throughout most of the set – one that stretches from Ramsey's late years at Cadet Records, through all the growth and maturation at Columbia during the 70s. The core trio's augmented by fuller horns on most numbers, given a bit of an Earth Wind & Fire/
Kalimba Productions groove – and there's a vocal chorus at a few points too. Includes a great version of "Close Your Eyes & Remember" – plus "Sassy Stew", "Callin Fallin", "Baby What You Want Me To Do", "You Never Know", "Lynn", and a "Hits Medley" of Lewis grooves from the 60s. Chance Encounter has a very full, carefully put-together approach – completely arranged and produced by Ramsey Lewis himself, but definitely using lessons learned from some of the other top-shelf talents who guided him during his years at Columbia Records! There's a pretty careful balance of material here – from spare acoustic piano numbers, to sweeter electric grooves, to one vocal track that's trying a bit more for a soul crossover. Ramsey mostly plays Steinway acoustic and Fender Rhodes – and tracks include "What's Going On", "Chance Encounter", "Intimacy", "A Special Place", "I Can't Wait", "Paradise", and "Just A Little Ditty".