Wildwood Calling marks Ramsey's first all-instrumental album in a 30+ year career as an iconic guitar player. For those who might recognize Bo Ramsey by his association with artists like Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown, Kevin Gordon, Pieta Brown, Charlie Parr and others, his new music is the perfect introduction to someone who always listens and plays with his own sonic vision in full motion .Not surprisingly, the list of Ramsey’s accolades is long: including Grammy-Award Winning Guitar Player, 2 Time Grammy Nominated Producer, Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and Iowa Blues Hall of Famer. But above all, Ramsey is a proud card-carrying member of his own hall of fame, which is the one where he chases the sounds in his head and his heart. He is always looking for a way to wrestle them into a recording so he can share that love of music with friends and strangers alike. Wildwood Calling is an album for the ages, and the perfect calling card for anyone with an interest in hearing the past, the present and the future rolled into one.
Its hard to think of another jazz musician, outside of George Benson, who has released as many high level pop jazz recordings as Ramsey Lewis. Ramsey is probably one of the top pianists of the modern jazz era, but he has always been more of a crowd pleaser than an adventurer, but that doesn’t mean his playing is light weight at all. “Ivory Pyramid”, released in 1992, is typical of Lewis’ repertoire with masterful renditions of tunes he wrote plus a few covers.
Hart Ramsey, Sr. Founder and Pastor of Northview Christian Church with weekly services accommodating approximately 6,000+ members, returns with his second contemporary jazz album entitled My Next heartbeat. Hart Ramsey is a sought after producer, keyboard player, engineer & songwriter who has paid his dues in the studio in support of many artists and returns with a phenomenal follow up. My Next Heart-beat is a co-produced by bassist Sean Michael Ray who has toured extensively with soul extraordinaire Maxwell, John Waite, Alex Bugnon, Dionne Farrism and a host of notable artists in both the R&B and Jazz Arenas.
Although Ramsey Lewis gained his initial fame as a jazz pianist, many of his records (including this one) are really more in the R&B field. The soul vocals, acid jazz rhythms and tinkling piano result in superior background music and there are some good moments (such as Grover Washington, Jr.'s soprano on "Sun Goddess 2000") but Ramsey Lewis is capable of much better. A strictly commercial effort that succeeds more as dance music than as creative jazz.