Michael C. Lewis is reviewed by Lemon Wire

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Michael C. Lewis takes strong cues from r&b on “Intimate Journey”

Trumpeter Michael C. Lewis follows up his 2010 debut with “Intimate Journey.” In 2010, after years of performing, Lewis released “Reflection” on his Cybervision Entertainment record label. The release earned rave reviews and set the expectations high for the follow-up release.

There is a sense of “cool” that emanates from the soundscape of “Intimate Journey.” Listeners will get a sense of what Lewis finds inspiring in music and many will appreciate the language twists that Lewis uses to organize and title his songs. For example, “Intimate Journey” opens with “Houston Nights” and ends with “Houston Knights.” The homophonic change sets audiences up to hear a slightly different song.

On a disc of eleven songs, several stand out. Of particular note are “Make Me Say It Again Girl” and “Reasons.”

About Michael C. Lewis

As Lewis’ song titles indicate, he is from Houston, Texas. While his vocals and trumpet-playing are on display on “Intimate Journey,” Lewis is also an actor and flugelhorn player.

Lewis attended Berklee College of Music in Boston before earning a master’s degree in Jazz Studies from New York University.

The East Coast provided more than just a place to earn an education for Lewis. After graduation, he became a fixture at a variety of notable clubs around New York City. Lewis has performed at the Apollo Theater, The Lenox Lounge, Showman’s, St. Nick’s Pub and other venues in Harlem.

Lewis also found opportunities to perform as a musician and an actor locally and internationally. One acting role that stands out is when Lewis portrayed jazz trumpet great, Lee Morgan in a Nuyorican Poets Café production of “Don’t Explain.” Lewis has also depicted Miles Davis and Clifford Brown.

Lewis is a fan and performer of both jazz and classic soul music. That fact shines through on “Intimate Journey.” Lewis has played with some of the most recognizable names in music: Patti LaBelle, De La Soul, Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett and others.

Lewis’ performance opportunities have taken him all over the globe, including Japan, Russia and Abu Dhabi.

“Intimate Journey” by Michael C. Lewis

“Make Me Say It Again Girl” is a smooth, bass-heavy tune with accents of keyboard, that eventually give way to smoother, longer passages. Lewis himself handles much of the song’s instrumentation. In addition to the vocals and horns, Lewis also runs the drum programming and keyboard rhythm tracks. Gerald Trottman plays keyboards.

The song itself is a generously conceived love song. After the main motifs of the song have played, the vocals repeat, “you are all I need.” This is sung as the horn plays emotive accents.

“Reasons (mute remix)” is a fantastic rendering of Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1975 classic. “Mute” here refers to the trumpet effect used to produce a rather singular tone. There is a different version of “Reasons” earlier on the album, but this one stands out. The song retains its r&b verve, its nuanced groove.

“Intimate Journey” promises listeners insight into the heart and inspiration of Lewis. It has been said that Lewis’ work takes people into the past and future simultaneously. With technologically rich music practices that bring to life Lewis’ soulful inspiration, that observation seems accurate.

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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