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RAMSEY LEWIS


BIO: Ramsey has been an iconic leader in the contemporary jazz movement for over 50 years, with an unforgettable sound and outgoing personality that has allowed him to cross over to the pop and R&B charts. The Ramsey Lewis Trio, with bassist Eldee Young and percussionist Redd Holt, became a fixture on the Chicago jazz scene, releasing their debut album, Ramsey Lewis & His Gentlemen of Jazz, back in 1956. Lewis earned his first gold record, as well as a Grammy award for Best Jazz Performance, for their swinging version of Dobie Gray’s hit “The In Crowd.” He returned to the pop charts in 1966 with versions of “Hang On Sloopy” and “Wade In The Water.” Throughout the years, Lewis’ trio has undergone membership changes, all the while staying true to Lewis’ high musical standards. After Young and Holt left Lewis’ trio to form their own group, the pianist hired a new rhythm section with Cleveland Eaton on bass and Maurice White on drums. When White left the band to form Earth, Wind & Fire, Morris Jennings signed on as the trio’s new percussionist. White returned to produce Lewis’ 1974 smash album entitled Sun Goddess, in which Lewis first experimented with electronic keyboards and featured Earth, Wind & Fire on the album. In 1983, Lewis returned to the studio with Young and Holt for the album Reunion. Throughout his illustrious career, Lewis has also joined forces with countless other artists to create new and innovative music. In 1984, he collaborated with Nancy Wilson on The Two of Us; in 1988, he recorded with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra for the album A Classic Encounter; and in 1989, Lewis and Dr. Billy Taylor cut a set of piano duets in We Meet Again. In 1995, Lewis launched the side project Urban Knights, in which he collaborated with a handful of successful crossover jazz stars, including Grover Washington, Jr., Earl Klugh, and Dave Koz. In 1997, Lewis added disc jockey to his resume, hosting a popular show on Chicago’s WNUA-FM that ran until 2009. A new show was syndicated in 2006 under the name Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis and was broadcast on jazz radio stations across the country. In 2006, a well-received 13-episode Legends of Jazz television series hosted by Lewis was broadcast by PBS on public TV nationwide and featured live performances by a variety of jazz artists including Larry Gray, Lonnie Smith, Joey Defrancesco, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Kurt Elling, Benny Golson, Pat Metheny and Tony Bennett. After having played mostly in an acoustic trio for the last fifteen years, Lewis’ latest endeavor has him returning to his electric roots. The three time Grammy® winner released Ramsey, Taking Another Look on September 20, 2011, featuring a new electric quintet with Henry Johnson on guitar, Michael Logan on keys, Joshua Ramos on bass and Charles Heath on drums. On the ten song CD, Lewis rekindles his 1974 career-defining album “Sun Goddess” through a collection of re-recorded tracks from the original disc perfectly balanced with five new tunes. “Jungle Strut” has all the attitude of its 1974 original and Lewis makes magic on the Fender Rhodes in “Tambura.” And rather than re-recording the title track “Sun Goddess”, Lewis has beautifully re-edited the original studio recording featuring Earth, Wind and Fire. Lewis and his Electric Band breathe new life into classic covers, such as the new high-octane rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Living For The City” and a tender interpretation of the timeless “Betcha By Golly Wow.” Recently, Lewis and students from Chicago’s Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy celebrated the success of his recording of the Stevie Wonder hit, “Living for the City,” from the new CD by filming a Music Video for the track. So far, nearly 32,000 people have watched this Video on YouTube, which was entirely shot and edited by Film & Broadcast and Recording Arts students. He is a long-time resident of Chicago, and believed in the importance of giving the Tribeca Flashpoint Media students this valuable experience and unforgettable opportunity. Famous for his passion for Steinway pianos, this is the first time Lewis has played the Fender Rhodes electric piano in over a decade. Lewis observed, “I was pleasantly brought back to what I loved about the instrument. Unlike an acoustic piano, you get that groove-oriented electric sound. And, you can add vibrato, enhance bass and treble. As a musician, it allows me to take on different and exciting roles. I feel almost like a horn player or even a singer because of the Fender Rhodes’ unique qualities and capabilities.”

Latest Articles


Ramsey Lewis in Soul Town Live Stream Dec. 26 Photo Ramsey Lewis in Soul Town Live Stream Dec. 26
by Sarah Jae Leiber - December 03, 2020

GRAMMY® Award-winning pianist and NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis presents an exclusive concert experience Saturday December 26 - Ramsey Lewis in Soul Town. Hear Ramsey's version of some of the great Motown and soul hits as well as his own soulful funky classics. ...
Ramsey Lewis Presents RAMSEY LEWIS IN SOUL TOWN Live Stream Concert Photo Ramsey Lewis Presents RAMSEY LEWIS IN SOUL TOWN Live Stream Concert
by Chloe Rabinowitz - December 03, 2020

GRAMMY Award-winning pianist and NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis presents an exclusive concert experience Saturday December 26 - Ramsey Lewis in Soul Town. Hear Ramsey's version of some of the great Motown and soul hits as well as his own soulful funky classics....
Ramsey Lewis Announces SATURDAY SALON - SOUND OF CHRISTMAS Photo Ramsey Lewis Announces SATURDAY SALON - SOUND OF CHRISTMAS
by Stephi Wild - November 20, 2020

GRAMMY Award-winning pianist and NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis presents an exclusive concert experience Saturday November 28 at 1PM CT - Sound Of Christmas. For this performance Ramsey revisits his classic Holiday record Sound Of Christmas. ...
Katie Melua Shares Video For 'Your Longing Is Gone' Photo Katie Melua Shares Video For 'Your Longing Is Gone'
by Sarah Jae Leiber - September 16, 2020

Last week, following its world exclusive play on Jo Whiley’s BBC Radio 2 show, Katie Melua released “Your Longing Is Gone” from the forthcoming Album No. 8 - due for release on October 16th via BMG....
Acoustic Guitar Virtuoso Mark Vickness To Release Second Album 'Interconnected' Photo Acoustic Guitar Virtuoso Mark Vickness To Release Second Album 'Interconnected'
by Sarah Jae Leiber - September 16, 2020

Three years after releasing his debut solo CD, Places, composer/guitarist, Mark Vickness releases Interconnected featuring four new solo modern fingerstyle compositions and four original pieces....
Katie Melua Shares 'Your Longing Is Gone' From Forthcoming Record Photo Katie Melua Shares 'Your Longing Is Gone' From Forthcoming Record
by Sarah Jae Leiber - September 10, 2020

Following its world exclusive play on Jo Whiley’s BBC Radio 2 show, Katie Melua releases “Your Longing Is Gone” from the forthcoming Album No. 8 - due for release on October 16th via BMG....
Katie Melua Shares “Leaving The Mountain” Photo Katie Melua Shares “Leaving The Mountain”
by Robert Diamond - August 18, 2020

Today, acclaimed Georgian-British singer-songwriter Katie Melua shares a beguiling new track taken from her forthcoming LP, Album No.8, set for release on BMG on October 16th. ...
Ramsey Lewis Returns To The 'Stage' With Monthly Online Performance Series, 'Saturday Photo Ramsey Lewis Returns To The 'Stage' With Monthly Online Performance Series, 'Saturday Salon'
by Kaitlin Milligan - May 13, 2020

GRAMMY Award-winning pianist and NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis will celebrate his 85th birthday in fitting fashion with a digital program available to audiences worldwide....
Matt Rollings Releases New Song 'Wade In The Water' Featuring The War and Treaty and Photo Matt Rollings Releases New Song 'Wade In The Water' Featuring The War and Treaty and The Blind Boys of Alabama
by Kaitlin Milligan - May 13, 2020

Today, the GRAMMY Award-winning producer, piano virtuoso and first-call session superstar Matt Rollings released the official video for 'Wade In The Water' featuring The War and Treaty and The Blind Boys of Alabama....
NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis Announces URBAN KNIGHTS VII Photo NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis Announces URBAN KNIGHTS VII
by Tori Hartshorn - August 07, 2019

With a career spanning seven decades, 83 recordings and countless performances around the world, Mr. Ramsey Lewis has decided to curtail his future touring plans. In 2018 the three time Grammy winner and NEA Jazz Master prematurely announced his retirement as the challenges of the road were catching...
Journeyman Phil Madeira Follows His Jazz Muse Into The Wordless World Of CRICKETS Photo Journeyman Phil Madeira Follows His Jazz Muse Into The Wordless World Of CRICKETS
by Tori Hartshorn - March 21, 2019

A Nashville mainstay, Phil Madeira was Americana before it was a thing. His venerable pedigree as a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger is assured, backed by Grammy-winning credits and a lengthy discography boasting collaborations with Garth Brooks, Emmylou Harris, The Ci...
Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban Among Performers for 2019 CMA Fest Photo Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban Among Performers for 2019 CMA Fest
by Kaitlin Milligan - March 05, 2019

The Country Music Association has revealed the initial artist lineup for this year's CMA Fest, which features hundreds of Country Music artists performing on multiple stages throughout downtown Nashville Thursday through Sunday, June 6-9. CMA Fest is a one-of-a-kind festival with artists donating th...
Jack Kleinsinger's Highlights In Jazz 46th Anniversary Gala Announced At Tribeca PAC Photo Jack Kleinsinger's Highlights In Jazz 46th Anniversary Gala Announced At Tribeca PAC
by Alexa Criscitiello - February 04, 2019

The 47th season of Highlights In Jazz kicks off with an all-star concert featuring pianist/vocalist Daryl Sherman, saxophonist Houston Person, trumpeter Warren Vaché, clarinetist/saxophonist Ken Peplowski, pianist Norman Simmons, bassist Boots Maleson, and guitarist James Chirillo, plus a special su...
Highlights In Jazz Announces its 47th All-Star Season Photo Highlights In Jazz Announces its 47th All-Star Season
by Kaitlin Milligan - January 02, 2019

Each year, savvy jazz fans look forward to the annual Highlights In Jazz series. For almost a half century, the Jack Kleinsinger-produced events have brought together a multitude of beloved jazz musicians spanning an eclectic mix of generations and styles. The 2019 season is no exception, with four ...
Highlights In Jazz Announces its 47th All-Star Season Photo Highlights In Jazz Announces its 47th All-Star Season
by Kaitlin Milligan - November 19, 2018

In four stellar concerts featuring some of the brightest luminaries in jazz today, 2019's Highlights In Jazz series brings together a multitude of beloved jazz musicians spanning an eclectic mix of generations and styles. You'll hear unforgettable performances from jazz veterans including Warren Vac...
Kacey Musgraves Wins Big at the CMA AWARDS - See Full List of Winners Here! Photo Kacey Musgraves Wins Big at the CMA AWARDS - See Full List of Winners Here!
by Kaitlin Milligan - November 15, 2018

Chris Stapleton reveled in a celebratory night in Nashville as he took home three wins at "The 52nd Annual CMA Awards," while Keith Urban warmed hearts with his gracious acceptance of the coveted Entertainer of the Year trophy. Country Music's Biggest Night was hosted for the 11th consecutive year b...
Reggie Codrington Releases Single 'Cherry Sweet' Off of AGAINST ALL ODDS Photo Reggie Codrington Releases Single 'Cherry Sweet' Off of AGAINST ALL ODDS
by Kaitlin Milligan - September 10, 2018

Afflicted with Ataxic Cerebral Palsy that required nine major surgeries before he hit his teens, Reggie Codrington has a mother, Joyce Codrington, who used to exercise him four times a day. Now she is the one in pain and when her son learned that the antioxidants in cherries can help reduce pain and...
The 40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival Announces Full Lineup Photo The 40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival Announces Full Lineup
by Macon Prickett - April 18, 2018

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce the 40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival will be hosted from August 24–September 2 in Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) and at venues throughout the city. Among many featured h...