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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ramsey Lewis And His Gentle-Men Of Swing

Fantasia For Drums
Ramsey Lewis And His Gentle-Men Of Swing
Designed by Le Roy Winbush
Photography front cover by Lacey Crawford Winbush
Photography back cover by Liz Mount
Argo LP 611

From Billboard - April 29, 1957: As a jazz pianist, classically trained Ramsey Lewis plays much in the economical introspective style of another Lewis – John. His trio is the chamber-soft tradition of the other Lewis' group, the MJQ. It's a deft, unified musical unit, but the "blowing" is limited. However, this LP is recommended for the sheer competence of the players, and its almost certain sales appeal to buyers on the jazz-classical periphery – those attracted by thoughtful, if somewhat restrained, jazz packages.

From the back cover:

Drums: Isaac "Red" Holt (photo, left)

A fine drummer from Chicago's West Side who studied at the Chicago School Of Music. While working at Union Park Temple he completed rhythm section for jazz luminaries James Moody, Lester Young and the late Charlie Parker.

"Red" tries to show, in his playing, that the drum is not just an instrument to pound on or carry a rhythm, but that it can also be played melodically. That it can "speak to you in melody."

Bass: El Dee Young (photo, center)

A young bassist whose intricate work reveals his early guitar study.

He studied bass at the American Conservatory of Music.

El Dee is trying to exploit the full potentials of the bass – not simply confine it to the rhythm section. In this he follows the tradition of Percy Heath, Ray Brown and Oscar Pettiford.

Piano: Ramsey Lewis (photo, right)

A Chicagoan who has won awards for his piano artistry from the National Federation of Music Clubs and American Society of Musicians as well as scholarships to Roosevelt University and Chicago Musical College.

At first a classical pianist who, after hearing such moderns as Art Tatum, Bud Powell and John Lewis turned to modern jazz.

While Ramsey plays a superb solo piano, his aim – visibly apparent in this LP – is to present the trio as a unified musical unit.

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