Ramsey Lewis

Ramsey Lewis

Infobox musical artist
Name = Ramsey Lewis

Img_capt = Ramsey Lewis performing at JazzFe 2006. Photo by Tomas Forgac
Img_size =
Landscape = yes
Background = non_vocal_instrumentalist
Birth_name = Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr.
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1935|5|27
Died =
Origin = Chicago, Illinois, USA
Instrument = Piano, keyboards
Genre = Jazz, pop
Occupation = Composer, pianist, radio personality
Years_active = 1956–present
Label = MCA, Chess, PolyGram, Virgin, GRP, BGO, Columbia, Narada Jazz, CBS, Blue Note
Associated_acts =
URL = [http://www.ramseylewis.com/ www.ramseylewis.com]
Notable_instruments =

Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr. (b. May 27, 1935) is an American jazz icon, composer, and pianist. He has been referred to as "the great performer", [ [http://www.legendsofjazz.net/ramseylewis/ Ramsey Lewis Biography] ] 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. [ [http://www.narada.com/images/ArtistBio/lewis/Lewisbio.pdf Ramsey Lewis with one voice] ] 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. [ [http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/bio/index.jsp?pid=23708 "Billboard": Ramsey Lewis] ]

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. [ [http://www.legendsofjazz.net/ Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis] ] 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. [ [http://www.wnua.com/pages/jocks.html?feed=133987&article=1496293 WTTW - Channel 11, Legends of Jazz] ]

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. [ [http://www.ravinia.org/Support/staff.aspx Ravinia Festival] ] 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.

His music can be heard during The Weather Channel's "Local on the 8s" segments and his song "Wade in the Water" is included in their 2008 compilation release, "".

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



*2002: Ramsey Lewis, carried the Winter 2002 Olympic Torch, Ramsey lights the cauldron for its brief stop in Chicago. [ [http://www.worldisround.com/articles/8626/ Winter 2002 Olympic Torch] ]
*2003: NAACP Image Award, Best Jazz Artist, for his album "Simple Pleasures" (2003) [ [http://theenvelope.latimes.com/factsheets/awardsdb/env-awards-db-search,0,7169155.htmlstory?searchtype=all&query=Ramsey+Lewis&x=12&y=4 NAACP: Ramsey Lewis] ]
*2006: 22nd Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, Best Gospel Instrumental Album, "With One Voice" (2005) [ [http://www.thestellarawards.com/soul.html Stellar Gospel Music Awards] ]
*2007: National Endowment for the Arts, Jazz Masters Award [ [http://www.arts.gov/national/jazz/jazz07/lewis.html 2007 NEA Jazz Master] ]
*2007: Landmarks Illinois, Legendary Landmark Award, as one of living treasures of Illinois. "Just like our landmarked buildings, our three Legendary Landmarks have been critical to the civic well-being of Chicago and stand as a testimony to the greatness of our cultural integrity." said David Bahlman, president of Landmarks Illinois. [ [http://www.landmarks.org/events_gala.htm Legendary Landmarks Gala] ]


External links

* [http://www.ramseylewis.com Ramsey Lewis] official site
* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:hpfwxqy5ldae~T5 Billboard Chart History for Ramsey Lewis]
* [http://www.legendsofjazz.net PBS - Legends of Jazz]
* [http://jazz.about.com/od/interviews/a/ramseylewisLOJ.htm Interview, About.com]
* [http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/news/celebrity/mmx-0702040496feb04,0,4741404.story?coll=mmx-celebrity_heds Ramsey's Rhythms]
* [http://jazzmonthly.com/artists/Lewis_Ramsey/interviews/index.html Jazz Monthly Feature Interview: Ramsey Lewis]
* [http://www.wnua.com/main.html Chicago's Smooth Jazz station]
* [http://www.legendsofjazz.net/podcast Legends of Jazz podcasts]

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