Ramsey and Nancy
Meant To Be
(Narada Jazz – 2002)
by Carmen Miller
Nancy Wilson is probably my all-time favorite female vocalist, so I would have probably titled the CD ‘Nancy and Ramsey’, but these two got the rest of this thing right on the money! The opening song First Time Love starts off with a couple of softly presented notes, then Nancy comes flowing out and around Ramsey’s delicately woven accompaniment like warm syrup on a winter morning. The song builds in tempo and intricacy while remaining as comforting as those first few lines. The soft and pensive instrumental Meant to Be follows giving Ramsey a chance to show his own skills. Then comes the classic Moondance. Nancy’s delivery is sassy and smart with Ramsey keeping the pace, guiding the tune. The collaboration heats up even more on Peel Me a Grape, Ramsey and Nancy dance through this piece, infusing it with the sauciness of an old-school Juke Joint.
Truthfully is another smooth instrumental. Not smooth Jazz smooth but rather the kind of smooth that has kept Ramsey at the top of the game for so many years. Velvet Night is great trio music, again showcasing Ramsey’s piano finesse. Did I Ever Really Live is soft and tentative at first, growing in strength and intensity carrying you with it. Ramsey and Nancy’s rendition of the Brenda Russel classic Piano In The Dark is marvelous! This is the perfect tune for these two music veterans, combining musical fluidity with vocal intensity to brew up a track that’s entrancing and beautiful. Songs like this are why I love Nancy Wilson so much.
The Latin flavored Tanquissimo is a good follow up, changing the groove, bringing you back to earth then whisking you away again with Ramsey’s grand-sweeping piano lines. Ramsey finishes up the CD with the pensive Time Peace, bringing the entire journey to a close in a peaceful and tranquil environment. This is the first time in nearly 20 years that Ramsey Lewis and Nancy Wilson have recorded together, and it’s waaaaaaay overdue. Ramsey and Nancy will be touring together throughout the year, and you should try to make one of the shows… it’s history in the making!
For more information and audio clips visit the Ramsey Lewis Web Site.