Famend jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, whose music entertained followers over a greater than 60-year profession that started with the Ramsey Lewis Trio and made him one of many nation’s most profitable jazz musicians, has died. He was 87.
Lewis is revered in jazz circles for Sixties hits like “The ‘In’ Crowd,” “Cling on Sloopy” and “Wade within the Water.” He earned three Grammy awards and 7 gold data. The trio’s first document in 1956 was “Ramsey Lewis and the Gents of Swing.”
Lewis died Monday in his sleep at his Chicago residence, in keeping with his son, Bobby Lewis.
“He was simply at peace,” Bobby Lewis instructed The Related Press on Monday night time. “Most individuals say after they met dad that he was a category act. He was that method even by way of his final breath.”
Ramsey Lewis described his method to composing and performing in a 2011 interview with the AP.
“Life is a solo, and it continues,” Lewis mentioned, sitting on the eating room desk in his downtown Chicago residence. “I simply know that after I put my palms on the piano it’s going to stream.”
Lewis first took piano classes at age 4. He spent his early days in Chicago utilizing his gospel and classical roots to create his personal jazz fashion within the many neighborhood venues that employed younger jazz musicians.
“It gave us lots of alternative to attempt our concepts and study what it means to carry out in entrance of an viewers,” Lewis mentioned as he was named Nationwide Endowment for the Arts Jazz Grasp in 2007. He accepted the award from his mentor and fellow Jazz Grasp, pianist Billy Taylor.
Throughout his profession, Lewis carried out with musical stars corresponding to Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Al Jarreau and Pat Metheney. Lewis had greater than 80 albums to his credit score — three dozen of them with Chicago-based Chess Data. He toured world wide and carried out on the 1995 state dinner that then-President Invoice Clinton hosted for President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil.
“I consider that my father — his love for the piano and his ardour for the piano and the way he coveted this love and the way he protected it — that gave him longevity,” Bobby Lewis mentioned. “He acknowledged the reward God had given him.”
The Chicago native started composing large-scale musical works later in his profession. His first was an eight-movement piece for Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. He additionally accomplished a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln — “Proclamation of Hope: A Symphonic Poem by Ramsey Lewis.”
Lewis additionally hosted radio exhibits within the Nineteen Nineties and 2000, together with “The Ramsey Lewis Morning Present,” on WNUA-FM and the syndicated “Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis.” In 2007, he hosted “Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis,” a weekly program that aired on public tv stations nationwide.
The present’s creators mentioned it was the primary time jazz was featured on a weekly foundation on community tv in 40 years. It featured jazz greats and up-and-comers.
Lewis additionally frolicked engaged on behalf of charities that introduced music to younger individuals.
“Ramsey’s ardour for music was actually fueled by the love and dedication of his followers throughout the globe,” his spouse, Janet Lewis, mentioned in a Fb submit. “He liked touring and assembly music lovers from so many cultures and walks of life. It was our household’s nice pleasure to share Ramsey on this particular method with all those that admired his God-given skills.”
Brett Steele, whose Tampa, Florida-based Steele Administration represented Lewis since 2011, mentioned Lewis spent the final yr of his life engaged on his memoirs that are accomplished and scheduled to be revealed subsequent yr.
Along with his spouse and son, Lewis is also survived by daughters Denise Jeffries and Daybreak Allain; two different sons Kendall Kelly Lewis and Frayne Lewis; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.