Ramsey Lewis’ jazz fusion classic Sun Goddess, featuring Earth, Wind & Fire, is our Song For Sunday.
Towards the late 60s/early 70s, a shift in jazz style was forming. Elements of rock and funk were beginning to infiltrate its sound, causing some “purists” to turn their nose up at the marriage of – to some – polar opposites. Nevertheless, artists like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Donald Byrd began to dabble in the new concept, to great plaudits and accolades. In 1974, jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis gave it a try for his album Sun Goddess, with the help of former bandmate and friend Maurice White who had formed Earth, Wind & Fire by this time. The album became a huge hit and the title track was later certified gold (how apt).
While Miles Davis was fusing unique and more experimental sounds with jazz compositions, Ramsey Lewis played a little safer by incorporating rhythm & blues infused with soul and funk. The progression to electric piano worked beautifully with the warm synths and harmonies of EWF, not to mention Maurice White’s steady drumming. Subtle African elements, congas and percussion laced throughout the song, are also worth noting. For me, it’s one of the best jazz fusion tracks of all time, so sit back, relax and enjoy!