Ramsey Lewis Death and Obituary, American Jazz composer, Pianist and Radio Host Ramsey Lewis is Dead, Cause of Death
Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis Jr. is an American jazz composer, pianist and radio host. Lewis has recorded more than 80 albums and won five gold records and three Grammys during his career.
Ramsay Lewis was born Ramsay Lewis Sr. and Pauline Lewis in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of four, he began to learn the piano. As a young man, Lewis performed with many local orchestras, including Edward Virgil Abner’s Musical Knights. Lewis would eventually join a jazz band called the Clefs. He later formed the Ramsey Lewis Trio with drummer Isaac “Red” Holt and bassist Eldee Young. They eventually joined Chess Records.
In 1956, the trio released their debut album, Ramsey Lewis and his Gentlemen of Swing. After their 1965 hit “The In Crowd” (where the single reached No. 5 on the pop chart and No. 2 on the album), they focused more on pop material.
Young and Holt left the company in 1966 to form Young-Holt Unlimited, which was replaced by Cleveland Eaton and Maurice White. White left to form Earth, Wind and Fire, and was replaced by Morris Jennings in 1970. Later, Frankie Donaldson and Bill Dickens replaced Jennings and Eaton; Felton Crews also appeared in many releases in the 1980s.
By 1966, Lewis had become one of the most successful jazz pianists in America, topping the charts with The In Crowd, Hang On Sloopy and Wade in the Water.
All three singles sold over a million copies and were certified Gold. Many of his recordings have attracted large non-jazz audiences. Lewis played the electric piano frequently in the 1970s, although later in the decade he stuck with the acoustic and hired an additional keyboard player on his team.
In 1994, Lewis appeared on the Red Hot Organization’s compilation Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, along with other notable jazz artists such as Herbie Hancock and Roy Ayers.
The album, aimed at raising awareness and funding for the AIDS epidemic as it relates to the African-American community, was hailed as “Album of the Year” by Time magazine.
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