20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Ramsey Lewisby Ramsey Lewis
Ramsey Lewis broke through to widespread commercial success with his trio's rendition of "The 'In' Crowd" in 1965, and he continued to put instrumental treatments of pop hits into the charts for another five years, many of which repeated the live club atmosphere (complete with rough singalongs) and kinetic rhythms of his first and biggest hit. This period in his career is recalled on this midline-priced best-of, drawn from his Argo and Cadet Records catalog, which begins with "The 'In' Crowd" and goes on to include hit treatments of such '60s standards as "Hang on Sloopy," "Up Tight (Everything's Alright)," and "A Hard Day's Night" performed in a similar style. All of the pianist's Top 40 hits are included, as well as some down-chart items and LP tracks. The party atmosphere is maintained throughout, except for Lewis' last Cadet hit, a version of the Beatles' "Julia" that uses an elaborate string chart. Despite Lewis' instrumental inventiveness, jazz fans may decry the commercial aspect of this material, but this is the music he is best known for.
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