Ramsey Lewis

Funky Serenity/Salongo

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Less than two years after the Super Bird label combined Upendo Ni Pamoja (1972) and Sun Goddess (1974), the R2 label reissued two other Ramsey Lewis albums originally released on Columbia: Funky Serenity (1973) and Salongo (1976). The former is primarily a trio date with bassist Cleveland Eaton and drummer Morris Jennings, featuring material that is both spaced-out (the ten-minute psychedelic trip "Dreams") and relatively organic (a version of the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin," where Ed Green's violin provides the main melody line). On the latter, a collaboration with Earth, Wind & Fire's Maurice White and visionary Chicago soul architect Charles Stepney, Lewis mixes Latin and African flavors with some powerful, straight-ahead soul-jazz. Both albums peaked in the Top Ten of Billboard's jazz chart.

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