b. Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis Jnr., 27th May 1935, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 12th September 2022, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Ramsey Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois.
He began taking piano lessons at the age of four.
He went on to play with a few local ensembles, such as Edward Virgil Abner's Knights of Music.
Ramsey then joined a jazz group called the Clefs and went on to form the Ramsey Lewis Trio with drummer Isaac ‘Red’ Holt and bassist Eldee Young.
The group then signed to Chess Records.
In 1956 the trio released their debut album, ‘Ramsey Lewis and his Gentle-men of Swing’.
They then achieved a 1965 hit ‘The In Crowd’. which reached No. 5 on the pop charts, and the album No. 2.
Isaac ‘Red’ Holt and bassist Eldee Young left the group in 1966 to form Young-Holt Unlimited and were replaced by Cleveland Eaton and Maurice White.
Maurice White left to form Earth, Wind & Fire and was replaced by Morris Jennings in 1970.
sun goddess - 1974
Frankie Donaldson and Bill Dickens later replaced Jennings and Eaton.
Felton Crews also appeared on many Eighties releases.
During the mid Sixties, Ramsey was having great success with the likes of ‘The In Crowd’, ‘Hang On Sloopy’, and ‘Wade in the Water’.
These releases sold over one million copies and were awarded gold discs.
In the Seventies, Ramsey diverged, musically, often playing electric piano.
love notes - 1977
Ramsey hosted the weekly radio program ‘Legends of Jazz’, in 1990, also going on to host the ‘Ramsey Lewis Morning Show on Chicago’.
In 2006, Ramsey hosted a 13-episode ‘Legends of Jazz’ television series, featuring live performances from the likes of Larry Gray, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Joey Defrancesco, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Kurt Elling, Benny Golson, Pat Metheny, and Tony Bennett.
three piece suite - 1981
He was the artistic director of ‘Jazz at Ravinia’ in Highland Park, Illinois, and helped organize Ravinia's Jazz Mentor Program.
Ramsey also served on the board of trustees for the Merit School of Music, a Chicago inner-city music program.
He was also on the board at the The Chicago High School for the Arts, the public arts high school in Chicago established in 2009.
Ramsey died, peacefully, on the 12th of September 2022, at his home in Chicago, at the age of 87.
Down To Earth (EmArcy Records 1958)
Gentleman Of Swing (Argo Records 1958)
Gentlemen Of Jazz (Argo Records 1958)
An Hour With The Ramsey Lewis Trio (Argo Records 1959)
Stretching Out (Argo Records 1960)
The Ramsey Lewis Trio In Chicago (Argo Records 1961)
More Music From The Soil (Argo Records 1961)
Sound Of Christmas (Argo Records 1961)
The Sound Of Spring (Argo Records 1962)
Country Meets The Blues (Argo Records 1962)
Bossa Nova (Argo Records 1962)
Pot Luck (Argo Records 1962)
Barefoot Sunday Blues (Argo Records 1963)
The Ramsey Lewis Trio At The Bohemian Caverns (Argo Records 1964)
Bach To The Blues (Argo Records 1964)
More Sounds Of Christmas (Argo Records 1964)
You Better Believe It (Argo Records 1965)
The In Crowd (Argo Records 1965)
Hang On Ramsey! (Cadet Records 1965)
Swingin' (Cadet Records 1966)
Wade In The Water (Cadet Records 1966)
Goin' Latin (Cadet Records 1967)
The Movie Album (Cadet Records 1967)
Dancing In The Street (Cadet Records 1967)
Up Pops Ramsey Lewis (Cadet Records 1968)
Maiden Voyage (Cadet Records 1968)
Mother Nature's Son (Cadet Records 1969)
Another Voyage (Cadet Records 1969)
Ramsey Lewis: The Piano Player (Cadet Records 1970)
Them Changes (Cadet Records 1970)
Back To The Roots (Cadet Records 1971)
Upendo Ni Pamoja (Columbia Records 1972)
Funky Serenity (Columbia Records 1973)
Sun Goddess (Columbia Records 1974)
Don't It Feel Good (Columbia Records 1975)
Salongo (Columbia Records 1976)
Love Notes (Columbia Records 1977)
Tequila Mockingbird (Columbia Records 1977)
Legacy (Columbia Records 1978)
Routes (Columbia Records 1980)
Three Piece Suite (Columbia Records 1981)
Live At The Savoy (Columbia Records 1982)
Les Fleurs (Columbia Records 1983)
Chance Encounter (Columbia Records 1983)
with Nancy Wilson: The Two Of Us (Columbia Records 1984)
Reunion (Columbia Records 1984)
Fantasy (Columbia Records 1986)
Keys To The City (Columbia Records 1987)
Classic Encounter (Columbia Records 1988)
with Billy Taylor: We Meet Again (Columbia Records 1989)
Urban Renewal (Columbia Records 1989)
Electric Collection (Columbia Records 1991)
Ivory Pyramid (GRP Records 1992)
with King Curtis: Instrumental Soul Hits (GRP Records 1993)
Between The Keys (GRP Records 1996)
Dance of Your Soul (GRP Records 1997)
Hang on Sloopy ([MCA] MCA Special Price Records 1998)
In Concert 1965 [live] (Giants of Jazz Records 1998)
Appassionata (Narada Records 1999)