Jazz musician returning to Atlanta
by Davia L. Mosley
September 19, 2012 12:48 AM | 1092 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After multiple Grammy wins, 80 albums and a career spanning more than 50 years, Ramsey Lewis wondered what took so long for his return to Atlanta. Lewis, along with fellow Grammy-winning jazz musician Al Jarreau, will be headlining the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre’s fifth anniversary Overture Gala on Friday at 8:30 p.m.

The concert is also a part of the inaugural “Jazz Roots: A Larry Rosen Jazz series,” which originated in Miami in 2008. Larry Rosen, a Grammy-winning producer, said the Cobb Energy Centre was a good fit for the program.

In an interview with the Journal in May, he said, “ (Jazz Roots) is about something very organic — you’re actually planting a root in the city. It’s saying we want to bring this community together. It’s about the music. It connects to Atlanta in a very organic way, more than many other cities, so that’s why we were really excited about coming to Atlanta.”

Of returning to the city, Lewis said, “It’s about time. Atlanta was one of the first cities that invited us.” He performed at night clubs and various festivals.

Up until about a decade ago, Lewis would perform in Atlanta once of twice a year. He quips, “I thought Atlanta didn’t love me anymore, so I’m looking forward to it now. I’m going to have a good time.”

Lewis got his start with the Ramsey Lewis Trio in the late 1950s. The group’s version of “The In Crowd” by Dobie Gray resulted in a Grammy win. In addition to the group, Lewis has also collaborated with artists and groups such as Nancy Wilson, Earth, Wind & Fire, and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. His hosting duties have included the radio show “Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis” and PBS’ “Legends of Jazz.”

He has also served as a lecturer, artistic director and co-founder in various endeavors. Lewis released his 80th album, “Ramsey, Taking Another Look,” last fall and is working on his next one for release next year.

Just like Lewis, Jarreau has earned multiple Grammy Awards along with a host of other music honors. His notable albums include “We Got By,” “Glow” and “Look to the Rainbow.” Jarreau has also performed on Broadway and acted in television shows such as “New York Undercover” and “Touched by an Angel.”

Lewis said with Jarreau on stage beside him, audiences can expect an entertaining show with some possible surprises.

“Being (on stage) with Al Jarreau — it doesn’t get much better than that,” Lewis said. “Al does what he does, and he does that so well.”

In addition to his classic songs, Lewis has something up his sleeve for Friday’s crowd. He said, “I’ve got some new material to lay on Atlanta.”

This year’s Overture Gala will mark the fifth anniversary of the Cobb Energy Centre. A cocktail reception and dinner will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the concert. Proceeds will benefit the Cobb Energy Centre Foundation.

For more information on Jazz Roots and the Overture Gala, visit www.cobbenergycentre.com or call (770) 916-2800.

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