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Music critics view Ramsey Lewis as the type of artists that most often straddles the fence, the kind of musician who has great talent but constantly plays it safe. From my perspective, sometimes it is what is I love his music regardless. Time Files captures the essence of Ramsey’s musical personality. ~ The Urban Flux

Ramsey Lewis Trio | Time Files – [Narada Jazz, 2004]

Ramsey Lewis Trio, Time Files

Ramsey Lewis Trio, Time Files

The fourth album on Narada Jazz from Ramsey Lewis, Time Flies is in effect a contemporary redo of his career. The themes that have been important in his music over the decades are each given some room (thus, there are classical, gospel, R&B, and straightforward jazz pieces here). At the same time, older songs are reworked with aspects of contemporary styles. Finally, the third dimension of changes here is the span of old Lewis classics, covers of other artists, and a few new items penned specifically for Time Flies. The album opens with a bit of Brahms, which subtly morphs along the way into some smooth jazz reminiscent of a Bobby McFerrin composition in some ways. Similarly, a bit of Bach makes its way into straight jazz piano and perhaps a bit of a bossa nova later in the album. “Second Thoughts” is a new number, taking cues (perhaps coincidentally) from Piazzolla’s tango aesthetic. The classic “Wade in the Water” is given a reworking in rhythm (courtesy of Ramsey’s son Frayne), as is “The In Crowd,” which gets a jumping round of percussion and clapping that could almost pass as “Got to Give It Up” to a casual bypasser. “Open My Heart” and “Hosanna” let Lewis go somewhat easier on the piano as he complements the gospel numbers with a grand dose of choir singers. Moving back to straightforward jazz piano, listeners get treats in the originals “Hide & Seek” and “Last Dance,” both of which showcase his still-present chops in fine light. There’s a little something for everyone on this album, making a fine stand at covering the multitude of styles and moods covered by Lewis over the past four decades or so. Fans of Lewis should pick it up as something other than a standard greatest-hits album, and newcomers to his sound may find it a worthwhile single-disc introduction to the variety encompassed by his catalog. —Adam Greenberg

Source: AllMusic.com