GRAMMY® Award-winning Pianist and NEA Jazz Master
Ramsey Lewis Returns to the “Stage” With the
Monthly Online Performance Series, “Saturday Salon”
Join Us to Celebrate Ramsey Lewis’ 85th Birthday Party
Saturday, May 30th – 1 PM Central Time
GRAMMY® Award-winning pianist and NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis will celebrate his 85th birthday in fitting fashion with a digital program available to audiences worldwide. Beginning May 30th and streaming ticketed solo performances once a month, Lewis will provide audiences with an exclusive concert experience streaming on the platform, Stageit. The “Saturday Salon” will take place on the last Saturday of every month and will feature a 50-minute performance at 1:00 PM Central Time.
Last touring in 2018, Lewis made the decision to give up the exhausting life on the road. “I love to perform but O’Hare and LaGuardia [airports] got the best of me,” Lewis explains. “I enjoyed a great run of live performances, but I decided that it was time to give it up. The rigors of travel started to take a toll.” However, the turn of world events and the way the Coronavirus pandemic has shaken up the performance world have provided a new opportunity for Lewis to not only perform again but develop an even broader audience online. “I have played all over the world but not really. I’ve played most of the major cities, but not every city in between and it’s exciting to know that this will be available to every person in the world. And that thought in my mind excites me and makes me want to perform again.”
Lewis began his streaming experience on April 25 with a concert in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month. The upcoming monthly performances to be held the last Saturday of the month at 1:00 PM CT will serve as an intimate experience from his home. Lewis will also share inside knowledge through stories that reflect a long-standing career that delves behind the music.
Lewis and his production team decided to present the “Saturday Salon” series through the digital viewing platform StageIt. StageIt hosts a wide variety of star studded performances from GRAMMY® Award-nominees Sara Bareilles and Rage Against The Machine/Springsteen collaborator Tom Morello to recent Golden Globe “Best Original Song” winner Common and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Daryl Hall, to GRAMMY® Award-winner Jason Mraz and actress Nina Dobrev.
Lewis’ solo format will also include new compositions penned specifically for these performances. “I’m going to be writing new material as well as performing and using material that has never been heard before. I started composing many years ago and I continue to compose now so there’s music that I have in my composition books that nobody has ever heard. Now there’s a reason to sit down and complete these fragments that I’ve always told myself that I would get to ‘later.’ I think now is the later.”
This birthday marks a milestone anniversary for Lewis. “What’s most important is that I’m playing for an audience once again, because I started playing in front of an audience when I was 11 years old in church every Sunday morning. My dad was the choir director for the gospel choir, so I began in front of an audience there and that continued until I was 15 years old. I then met Wallace Burton who was an early inspiration, he thought I could play jazz because he heard me play gospel in the church. He said ‘Come play in my band,’ but when he learned that I knew gospel and not jazz at all, he said ‘Well I’ll teach you.’ And it was all so exciting, so the idea of performing once again just became so alive.”
A portion of the proceeds from each performance will benefit The Jazz Foundation of America. The JFA is one of the leading non-profit organizations focused on aiding jazz musicians in this international time of need. Every aspect of the music industry has been impacted by COVID-19 and the JFA is focused on providing much needed emergency, health, housing and job assistance to jazz musicians who have lost a large portion of their income due to a lack of live performances. More information on the Jazz Foundation’s COVID 19 Relief Fund can be found here.
At a time when the power of music and art can serve as a unifying force, Ramsey Lewis is looking to reignite the fire and power that can only come from a connection between the musician and the audience. “I feel the audience because I know that they’re there. I know the number of people in the audience are there and listening and I’m playing to them, they are in my being and I’m performing for them as if we were in Carnegie Hall together.”
Saturday Salon Information
Performances at 1PM CT
On the last Saturday of each month
Purchase Tickets for
Tickets – $20 per performance
Join Us On:
and September 26
For more information on the Ramsey Lewis, please visit ramseylewis.com/
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