Ramsey Lewis (born Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr. in Chicago on 27 May 1935 ; died 12 September 2022) was an American jazz and pop pianist and keyboardist. Lewis formed The Ramsey Lewis Trio in 1956 and went on to record over 80 albums, receiving five gold records and three Grammy Awards during his career.
Lewis began taking piano lessons at the age of four. As a young man, Lewis played with a number of local ensembles, such as Edward Virgil Abner's Knights of Music. Lewis would eventually join a jazz group called The Clefs.
He formed The Ramsey Lewis Trio in 1956 with Eldee Young and Isaac Holt. They started as primarily a jazz unit but after their hit, "The In Crowd", in 1965 (the single reached fifth place on the pop charts, and the album second place) the trio concentrated more and 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. In the late 1970s an additional keyboard player was frequently added to the lineup. A contemporary version of "The In Crowd" was recorded for Lewis' 2004 album, Time Flies.
His 2005 album "With One Voice" pays homage to his gospel roots with the help Smokie Norful, Darius Brooks, and Donald Lawrence and the J.W. James Memorial A.M.E. Church Combined Choir.
In addition to recording and performing, he was a radio host on Chicago's Smooth Jazz station, WNUA (95.5 FM). His syndicated show Legends of Jazz, featuring classic jazz recordings from artists such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis), could be heard in 60 cities in the United States and other countries as well. His Legends of Jazz television series on PBS, was first aired in April 2006.
From December 2006, the Ramsey Lewis Morning Show became a part of Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz Network, simulcasting on other Smooth Jazz stations across the country for the first time.
Lewis was 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. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.