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Artist’s Choice: Jazz-Rock-Pop Records Featuring Keys

Marco Benevento chooses 10 great hits that use jazz-inspired keyboards

Ramsey Lewis performing Proclamation of Hope in 2009
Pianist Dick Hyman
Marco Benevento

A lot of these records incorporated effects on the piano (tape delay on Bent Fabric’s “Catsanova Walk,” modified tack piano on B. Bumble’s “Bumble Boogie”) and/or various organ sounds and electric piano sounds (pitch bend on the Lowrey Organ on Dick Hyman’s “The Liquidator” and Wurlitzer on Donny Hathaway’s “The Ghetto”). These jazz-rock records also had amazing production. The sounds that the engineers were able to get on the drums were incredibly warm, very analog sounding, and some sound overdriven (obviously many had been done straight to a tape machine). Some tracks have heavy spring reverb on the guitar that adds a lot to the sound as well. Many of the other pianists are more groove-oriented and their music lends itself more to the rock side or pop side of the incredibly broad spectrum of jazz (Sergio Mendes’ “Mas Que Nada” and Ramsey Lewis’ “The In Crowd”).

“The Liquidator”

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