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Ramsey Lewis: With One Voice

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You gotta love a Ramsey Lewis CD that begins with “Oh Happy Day.” In fact, Lewis’ first gospel recording in his distinguished career is as uplifting as you’d expect. This live project was recorded at the J.W. James Memorial A.M.E. Church in Maywood, Ill. That is, by the way, where the Rev. Lucille L. Jackson–Lewis’ sister–is the copastor.

Hearing and appreciating the congregation’s reactions–lots of clapping and hoots–is one reason why this CD is so special. Lord have mercy, Christian and gospel music can be a sterile thing. But in Lewis’ hands it’s rollicking and joyful (“Sunday Strut”), reverential (“Bless Me (Prayer of Jabez))” and just plain beautiful (Lewis’ spare duet with Kevin Randolph on keys in “With One Voice”).

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