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Interview:
Ramsey Lewis readies new music for release
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

» See more SOUND CHECK

Ramsey Lewis has a new album in the works -- he's just not sure what form it will wind up taking.

After creating a couple of extended conceptual pieces -- including one for the Joffrey Ballet -- the veteran jazz pianist and educator says he has five new compositions in hand. "Now I'm debating whether they should be a suite or five separate songs," explains the three-time Grammy Award winner. "Fortunately they're different enough to where they could stand on their own two feet, but they have certain similarities where it could be one suite. "Some of it has more of a gospel feel, some a more classical feel and others more of a straight-ahead jazz feel.

"I have some options with it -- but that's a good problem to have."

Lewis plans to debut some of the songs when he plays this week in Detroit. But even with that project in motion, he says he wouldn't mind getting into the studio with his current touring partner, vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, to see what they could come up with together.

"That would be a love affair," Lewis says with a laugh. "She's just a total performer. She knows songs from the Great American Songbook. She knows R&B songs. She knows jazz standards. Her vocal range is extensive. She has a great ear. She has a great sense of humor...

"I think it would be something that would be unique in the marketplace for us to put something out. I'm looking forward to it. I can't imagine that after doing so many shows together this year that it won't happen."

Ramsey Lewis and Dee Dee Bridgewater perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Chene Park Amphitheatre, 2600 Atwater St. at Chene, Detroit. Tickets are $35 and $17 pavilion, $12 lawn. Call 313-393-7128 or visit www.cheneparkdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.cheneparkdetroit.com

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