Ramsey Lewis: Dance of the Soul

Ramsey Lewis has created a bounty of fresh Latin-influenced soul charts of exceptional variety. Again playing only acoustic concert grand piano, his approach is more mainstream than the contemporary tone of his previous issue, Between the Keys.

The title track, featuring Michael Logan on electric keyboards and Henry Johnson on guitar, is full of inventive segments boosted by the infectious percussion of Alejo Poveda and Oscar Seaton. Lewis lays down especially rich riffs on “Fire and Rain,” “Lullaby” and “Cancion.” The reflectively languid “Fragile” is enhanced by haunting background vocals, but Donica Henderson’s vocal on “Portuguese Love” is a bit too hard-edged for my tastes. Lewis adds a gospel choir to sing gloriously against a soul-stirring funk groove. His closing solo rendition of “Cante Hondo (Deep Song)” is nothing less than exquisite, and the same can be said for the entire album.