Ramsey Lewis staked his claim to fame with The In Crowd, 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.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos