Happy Birthday Ramsey Lewis

May 27, 1935

Sun Goddess

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Composer, pianist, educator, and broadcaster Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr., was born on May 27, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois.

He received his first piano lessons at the age of four and had his first jazz gig at 15.

Lewis has recorded over 80 albums as a leader, with five gold albums and three Grammy nominations.

In addition to performing and recording, he is very active in working with young people and promoting the art as an educator.

Ramsey Lewis began on his principal instrument at the age of four and joined his first group, “The Cleffs”.

A graduate of DePaul University, he formed a trio with former “Cleffs” members Isaac “Redd” Holt and Eldee Young, focusing on producing a bebop-oriented sound.

In 1966, he was among the most successful American jazz pianists, with chart-topping hits including “The In Crowd,” “Hang On Sloopy,” and “Wade in the Water”; music that bears a deep gospel and R&B influence.

During the early 1970s, Lewis often performed on electric piano before reverting to acoustic piano and adding a keyboard player to his band.

Starting in 1990, Ramsey Lewis became the host of the nationally syndicated weekly radio program “Legends of Jazz,” and he also hosted the “Ramsey Lewis Morning Show” on Chicago’s “smooth jazz” radio WNUA until its cancellation in 2009.

In 2006, Lewis expanded his role as a jazz educator to television with a thirteen-episode “Legends of Jazz” series broadcast on PBS.

The “Ramsey Lewis Band” performs live in 1990.


Ramsey Lewis, piano
Mike Logan, keyboard
Henry Johnson, guitar
Chuck Webb, bass
Steve Cobb, drums


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