Jazz great Ramsey Lewis visits Penn

Composer Ramsey Lewis

Composer, pianist and jazz legend Ramsey Lewis will visit Penn’s campus March 17-19 as the Spring 2010 Artist in Residence for Penn’s Center for Africana Studies.

Lewis, who has three Grammy Awards and seven gold records, is known for his on-stage performance style and his selections that display a firm knowledge of gospel, classical and jazz music.

While on campus, Lewis will conduct three master classes led by Penn music professor Guthrie Ramsey Jr., author of the award-winning “Race Music: Black Cultures From Be- Bop to Hip Hop” and founder of Dr. Guy’s MusiQology, a sextet that performs jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel and neo-soul. The classes will be open to the public and free of charge.

The first master class, “Jazz and the Chicago Scene,” will be held March 17. Lewis will discuss his roots in Chicago’s thriving music scene and the powerful impact a cultural space can have on the development of a musician’s art. The March 18 master class, “Jazz and Genre Crossings,” will focus on the wide range of Lewis’ aesthetic palette that has, through the years, crossed multiple genres of classical, jazz and popular music. Both classes will be held in the Music Building Room 101 located at 201 S. 34th St.

The final master class is scheduled for March 19. Lewis will discuss his career as a jazz composer and perform solo piano pieces from a forthcoming recording project, backed up by a contemporary jazz ensemble. This session will be held in the Zellerbach Theater of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St.

Tickets are required for admittance to the final class and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Annenberg Center Box Office. Tickets can be reserved by calling 215-898-3900. Click here to get more information about the master classes, co-sponsored by Penn’s Music Department.

Originally published on March 15, 2010