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Monday, 27 May 2013

Ramsey Lewis born 27 May 1935


Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr. (b. May 27, 1935) is an American jazz icon, composer, and pianist. Has been referred to as "the great performer", a title reflecting his performance style and musical selections which display his early gospel playing and classical training (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.) along with his love of jazz and other musical forms. Ramsey Lewis has recorded over 80 albums and has received five gold records and three Grammy Awards so far in his career.

Ramsey Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ramsey Lewis, Sr. and Pauline Lewis. Lewis began taking piano lessons at the age of four. At 15 he joined his first jazz band, The Cleffs. The seven-piece group provided Lewis his first involvement with jazz; he would later join Cleffs drummer Isaac "Redd" Holt and bassist Eldee Young to form the Ramsey Lewis Trio.

The trio started as primarily a jazz unit and released their first album, Ramsey Lewis And The Gentlemen of Swing, in 1956. Following their 1965 hit The In Crowd (the single reached #5 on the pop charts, and the album #2) they concentrated more on pop material. Young and Holt left in 1966 to form the Young-Holt Trio and were replaced by Cleveland Eaton and Maurice White. White was replaced by Maurice Jennings in 1970.

By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with The In Crowd, Hang On Sloopy, and Wade In The Water. Many of his recordings attracted a large non-jazz audience. In the '70s, Lewis often played electric piano, although by later in the decade he was sticking to acoustic and using an additional keyboardist in his groups.

In addition to recording and performing, Lewis currently hosts a morning show on Chicago "smooth jazz" radio station WNUA (95.5 FM). His weekly syndicated radio program "Legends of Jazz," created in 1990, features recordings from artists such as David Sanborn, George Duke, Charlie Parker, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau and Miles Davis. The show can be heard in 60 U.S. cities and overseas. On December 4, 2006, the "Ramsey Lewis Morning Show" became part of Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz Network, simulcasting on other Smooth Jazz stations across the country for 
the first time. However, the show is still based in Chicago.

In 2006, a well-received 13-episode "Legends of Jazz" television series hosted by Lewis was broadcast on public TV nationwide and featured live performances by a variety of jazz artists.

Lewis is artistic director of Jazz at Ravinia (an annual feature at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois) and helped organize Ravinia's Jazz Mentor Program. Ramsey also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Merit School of Music, a Chicago inner-city music program. Early in 2005, the Ramsey Lewis Foundation was created to help connect at-risk children to the world of music. As an offshoot of that foundation, Lewis plans to form a Youth Choir and Youth Orchestra. 

In January 2007, the Dave Brubeck Institute invited Lewis to join its Honorary Board of Friends at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. In May 2008, Lewis received an honorary doctorate from Loyola University Chicago upon delivering the keynote address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

Lewis still lives in Chicago, Illinois, the city of his musical roots. He has seven children, fourteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. (info Wikipedia)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Ramsey Lewis Greatest Hits go here:

01 The "In" Crowd
02 My Babe
03 Since I Fell For You
04 Something You Got
05 Hard Day's Night
06 Hang On Sloopy
07 The Caves
08 Dancing In The Street
09 Felicidade (Happiness)
10 Wade In The Water
11 Ain't That Peculiar
12 Blues For The Night Owl
13 Function At The Junction
14 Lonely Avenue
15 1-2-3
16 Look-A-Here
17 High Heel Sneakers
18 Uptight (Everything's Alright)
19 Soul Man (Bonus Track)
20 Day Tripper (Bonus Track)