PHILADELPHIA -- Jazz legend Ramsey Lewis will be the Spring 2010 Artist in Residence for the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Africana Studies. The composer and pianist will visit Penn’s campus March 17-19.
Lewis, who has three Grammy Awards and seven gold records, is known for a performance style and musical selections that display his early gospel roots, classical training, love of jazz and fondness for other musical forms.
He will conduct three master classes led by Penn Music Professor Guthrie Ramsey Jr. A pianist and composer in his own right, Ramsey is author of the award-winning “Race Music: Black Cultures From Be-Bop to Hip Hop” and is founder and leader of Dr. Guy’s Musiqology, a sextet whose musical stylings include jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel and neo soul.
The first master class, “Jazz and the Chicago Scene,” will be 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 Room 101 of the Music Building, 201 S. 34th St.
For the final March 19 master class, “Ramsey Lewis, Jazz Composer,” Lewis will discuss his career as a jazz composer and perform solo piano pieces from a forthcoming recording project, backed by a contemporary jazz ensemble. This class, like the others, is free and open to the public. It will be held in the Zellerbach Theater of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St. Tickets, which are required only for this third class, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Annenberg Center Box Office. They can be reserved by calling 215-898-3900.