Birthday celebrations during the pandemic have gotten creative, with drive-by greetings, Zoom chats and small family gatherings.
Chicago jazz composer and pianist Ramsey Lewis is putting a musical twist on his 85th birthday this weekend, and he wants you to join him.
It’s part of his monthly Saturday Salon series held the last Saturday of every month at 1 p.m. In May, it happens to fall on his birthday.
“The songs will come from a list of songs I composed, songs that others composed,” Lewis said. “It’ll be from Duke Ellington, to Bach to Chopin and the blues. I was criticized early on in my career, 50, 60, 70 years ago, for being all over the place. ‘He’s playing the blues here, he’s playing a semi-classical piece with a jazz arrangement of it,’ they’d say.”
Held in his living room and recorded by his wife, Lewis says the feedback he’s received so far on the series has been great.
“It was wonderful, as a result from that first one, to get mail from Japan, Europe and places around the world, as well as Chicago and the U.S. So it was like wow, really?”
Partial proceeds from this Saturday’s celebration go to the Jazz Foundation of America. Tickets can be purchased here.
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Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.