The prolific jazz musician Ramsey Lewis passed away earlier this September at the age of 87. Lewis was a Grammy award winning artist and is best known for albums like “Sun Goddess” and “The In Crowd.”
Lewis is also responsible for a wonderful cover album of The Beatles’ music, called “Mother Nature’s Son.” “Rocky Raccoon,” off of The Beatles’ self-titled album (better known as “The White Album”) is my favorite song by the band. Lewis’ cover of “Rocky Raccoon” breathes a wonderful and vibrant life into the song, making it one of my favorite songs of all time.
The country song makes a wonderful canvas for a jazz cover. The cover starts off rather percussive and before you know it, a whole band of instruments have bled their way into the scene. The cover builds until it’s a pleasant storm of noise, with the melody on the keys serving as the rain and everything else draped behind it as the clouds.
Only 2 minutes and 38 seconds long, the cover is around a minute shorter than the original, and packs the same spirit into the same amount of time.
If you haven’t heard of Ramsey Lewis until now, I suggest you check out his rather extensive discography, there is something for everyone there. Or, at the very least, listen to his cover of “Rocky Raccoon.”