The Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg will present the legendary jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis with his quartet on Friday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Ramsey Lewis has been an iconic leader in the contemporary jazz movement for over 50 years with an unforgettable sound and outgoing personality that has allowed him to cross over to the pop and R&B charts.
In 1956, Mr. Lewis earned both his first Gold Record and Grammy Award, for Best Jazz Performance, for his swinging version of Dobie Gray’s hit “The In Crowd.” He returned to the pop charts in 1966 with versions of “Hang On Sloopy” and “Wade In The Water,” which each received Grammy Awards. Seven of his albums have been certified Gold.
Throughout his illustrious career, Mr. Lewis, who is a NEA Jazz Master, has also joined forces with countless other artists to create new and innovative music. In 2006, a well-received 13-episode Legends of Jazz television series hosted by Mr. Lewis was broadcast on PBS nationwide and featured live performances by a variety of jazz artists, including Larry Gray, Lonnie Smith, Joey Defrancesco, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Kurt Elling, Benny Golson, Pat Metheny and Tony Bennett.
Lately he has been touring with Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind & Fire), John Pizzarelli and Dee Dee Bridgewater as well as doing dates in celebration of the 50th anniversary of “The ‘In’ Crowd.” Mr. Lewis has received many accolades throughout his career, including having been honored by five different universities with honorary doctorate degrees. Mr. Lewis is in the Grammy Hall of Fame in addition to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and even had the opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch on its journey to Salt Lake City in 2002.
After having played mostly in an acoustic trio for the last 15 years, Mr. Lewis’ latest endeavor has him returning to his electric roots. The three-time Grammy winner has released a CD, “Taking Another Look,” featuring a new electric quintet adding guitar and keyboard.
“I’ve recorded maybe 70-80 albums, and this album is definitely among the top five,” said Mr. Lewis.
For his Webb Center appearance, Mr. Lewis will perform with Henry Johnson on guitar, Joshua Ramos on bass and Charles Heath on drums.
Tickets to the March 10 performance start at $45. Call the Box Office at 928-684-6624 to reserve seats, ask about $5 student tickets, or visit www.dewpac.org for more information.
Editor’s note: Laura Stahlhut is the Patron Services & Volunteer Coordinator for Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts.