Back in 1984, revered jazz/soul stylists (and longtime pals) Nancy Wilson and Ramsey Lewis collaborated for the first time together on wax on the Stanley Clarke-produced The Two of Us. Sadly, it wasn't a pleasant experience. They ended up having to record their tracks separately, thus missing out on the spur-of-the-moment chemistry a riffing vocalist like Wilson and an experienced piano man like Lewis could exhibit if they were in the same vicinity. The bad taste Two left in their mouths caused them not to collaborate on another album together -- that is, until last year, when they decided to take one more shot at it, working closely together this time. While the aptly titled Meant to Be could be seen as 18 years in the making, the followup came much more quickly: the just-dropped Simple Pleasures. It's another apt title -- if there's anything the musical union of Wilson and Lewis shows, it's that when two talented people come together and get their creative juices percolating, the pleasure couldn't be simpler.
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