It’s time for lunch, therefore it’s also time for my daily core workout (Day 42 of the 100 Day Challenge to be exact). My listening pleasure then is a Jazz Boner essential, ‘The In Crowd‘ album by the Ramsey Lewis Trio.
I’ve been looking for this album on vinyl for, like, ever. I don’t remember when I first heard but I remember that when I did I loved. In fact, it’s likely one of the albums that ultimately led me to appreciating jazz. Of course, I haven’t even so much as thought about it for quite some time and then suddenly, out of the blue, BAM!, there it was for a fleeting second on a video posted to a buddy’s Facebook page on the weekend so, yeah, now I just have to listen to it. So while I’d prefer to be listening to this live album on vinyl right now, as is typical with these here workouts, alas, today it was not meant to be.
Fortunately, YouTube to the rescue (click HERE)!
The little known Ramsey Lewis staked his claim to fame with album, an instrumental version of Dobie Gray’s Top 40 hit. He also was one of the first soul jazz icons of the mid-’60s, based on the strength of the sales of this recording, done over three days during a club date at the Bohemian Caverns in Washington, D.C.
What is not readily acknowledged over the years is that bassist Eldee Young is really the star of the show. He’s the one who gets the crowd revved up with his vocalizing in tandem with the notes he is playing. It’s on his Ray Charles-like take on ‘Tennessee Waltz‘ and a similar treatment of Gale Garnett’s minor pop hit ‘You Been Talkin’ ‘Bout Me Baby‘ that gets the patrons off. Of course, the quintessential hip shakin’ introductory title track gets the groove in motion, but it’s Young that lights the fuse. His stellar work with drummer Redd Holt bolsters the style of Lewis, and takes it further for the upbeat bossa ‘Felicidade‘.
Of course, Lewis is the bluesy centerpiece on ‘Since I Fell for You‘, another cover of a pop hit that at the time Lenny Welch did so well. The variant is the dramatic ‘Theme from Spartacus‘, which has an up-and-down dynamic more suited for a concert hall than a smoky nightclub. This is the moment where Lewis shined the brightest, the “in crowd” at the club was verbally into it, and the time for this music was right.
Complimenting my quick series of planks, squats, push-ups and other bullshit is this nice, healthy chicken salad lettuce wrap that, yes, I actually made myself. Of course, my inner carb-loving asshole self is punching me in the face right now for actually using lettuce as a bread substitute but, hey, sometimes a fat triathlete just has to learn to roll with the punches.
P.S.> Dear Davey, if you are reading this and are so inclined to help out a down-on-his-luck Canadian jazz fan fill out his record collection by sending your copy of this album northward, I would happily repay you in ridiculously low cut v-neck hipster tee’s.
Just throwing it out there, dude.
A mere eight days after making this blog post and, woah! There it was sitting in a cardboard box of dusty old forgotten vinyl at this past weekend’s Record Fair in St. Catharines.
Thank you vinyl gods!