[JPL] NEA Jazz Masters Announced...NYTimes 10/9/06

Jim Wilke jwilke123 at comcast.net
Tue Oct 10 16:49:08 EDT 2006

Oh, I could cut him a little slack.   I'll never forget that afternoon 
many years ago when I walked into a club where he was booked to set up 
for a live radio show that night, and there was this guy with his back 
to me playing the most beautiful solo piano version of the aria from 
the Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 - I sat and listened in the 
empty dark club until he was done and was amazed to find it was Ramsey 
Lewis -  all I knew of him was The In Crowd and Wade In the Water and I 
was already tired of them then.

One of his recent CDs "Time Flies" has him still flogging those same 
two hits, but there's also a beautiful theme from Brahms Symphony No.3, 
some Bach, etc.     No, he doesn't belong in the same company as 
previous winners, but he is capable of some beautiful piano work when 
you get him away from his hits.

He also got some good general audience exposure for some deserving 
people like Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Chick Corea, Benny Golson, Kurt 
Elling, Dave Brubeck, Eddie Palmieri in his recent TV series.  I'm sure 
some viewers who never are exposed to jazz got some idea what the 
music's about through the players on this series.

Although none of this makes him a jazz piano master, perhaps the "jazz 
advocacy" award would have been more appropriate.

Jim Wilke

On Tuesday, October 10, 2006, at 01:14  PM, Bob Stockton wrote:

> If I have to listen to "The In Crowd" one more time.........

> ----- Original Message ----- From: <s8nochaser at aol.com>
> To: <jazzproglist at jazzweek.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 2:54 PM
> Subject: Re: [JPL] NEA Jazz Masters Announced...NYTimes 10/9/06
> Congratulation to them all. It's a great honor to be sure.
> Now that I understand there is a "campaign" aspect to being selected, 
> doesn't make Ramsey freakin' Lewis' inclusion any less strange and out 
> of place. In fact his addition as a pianist in the company of those 
> who preceed him is a sham, plain & simple.
> Ramsey Lewis joins:
> Basie
> Teddy Wilson
> Jay McShann
> Barry Harris
> Hank Jones
> Ahmad Jamal
> Horace Silver
> Dave Brubeck
> Tommy Flanagan
> Marian McPartland
> John Lewis
> McCoy
> Herbie
> Chick
> Shirley Horn
> There are times when I'm not the most PC person in the world, and now 
> is one of them.
> Even among this year's entries doesn't his name seem out of place? I 
> mean, how would one introduce this guy to an audience? Whatever it is 
> they'll come up with he's going to sound way better than the actual 
> results. "As a long time champion of mostly middle of the road 
> offerings, and as the long time host on BET, behind some of the 
> softest stuff on the planet, and let's not forget his own multi-decade 
> career on piano ocassionally playing a few things that were *nice*, 
> and oh BTW, as one of the darlings of PBS/PRI had one hell of a 
> campaign............."
> http://www.nea.gov/national/jazz/alljazzmasters.html Here, you can 
> find all the previous winners.
> Mike Schwartz/KSJS
> -----Original Message-----
> From: rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
> To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
> Sent: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 11:21 AM
> Subject: [JPL] NEA Jazz Masters Announced...NYTimes 10/9/06
> Masters of Jazz
> The big-band leader Toshiko Akiyoshi, the pianist
> Ramsey Lewis and the vocalist Jimmy Scott are among
> seven musicians who have been designated Jazz Masters,
> the nation’s highest jazz honor, by the National
> Endowment for the Arts, The Associated Press reported.
> The others are the hard-bop trombonist Curtis Fuller;
> the tenor saxophonist and influential flutist Frank
> Wess; the alto saxophonist Phil Woods, who was honored
> in the composer-arranger category; and Dan
> Morgenstern, director of the Institute of Jazz Studies
> at Rutgers University, who was chosen in the jazz
> advocacy category. They are to receive their awards,
> including a $25,000 fellowship, at a ceremony and
> concert on Jan. 12 in New York.
> Roy Durfee
> P.O. Box 40219
> Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
> rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com

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