Ramsey Lewis, the Famous Jazz Pianist and Pop star, Dies at 87


The pop world lost a star when Ramsey Lewis, the jazz pianist, died at the age of 87. He breathed his last this Monday at his home in Chicago. The news of his demise was confirmed by his manager Brett Steele. Ramsey is survived by his wife and 5 children.

He was a ray of hope for jazz music lovers as he continued to keep that genre of music alive with his innovative and evolving ideas. He gave his life’s 60 years to jazz music.

Ramsey Lewis became the recipient of the Grammy award thrice. Seven gold records went to his name. And in 2007, he received the National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master award. It is the biggest honor that is given in the U.S. to jazz musicians.

Ramsey grew a love for jazz music during his childhood. He used to listen to the music of Duke Ellington and Art Tatum and became their fan. He was in love with jazz music but never tried to play it.

When he was 15, he got an offer from a church to start his band. He accepted it as it was a golden opportunity to play his favorite jazz music. He formed a band and named it the Clefs. And thereafter, there was no looking back.

While performing with the band, Ramsey Lewis became an expert jazz pianist. After that, he created the Ramsey Lewis Trio along with two partners, Eddie Young, and Redd Holt.

The first album by the trio was released in 1956. But it took them ten years to become national sensations. In 1965, The ‘In’ Crowd instrumental cover was released, and it became an instant nationwide hit. Not only was it a hit, but it also won Ramsey his first Grammy award.

Ramsey Lewis kept on bringing newer variations into jazz music to entertain jazz lovers. He used to release 2 to 3 albums per year and kept his listeners glued. In his career of 60 years, he released more than 80 music albums.

Slowly, he started to reduce his work and, in the end, took retirement from the music world. But he kept introducing new artists and did several radio and TV programs. In 2005, he founded an organization called Ramsey Lewis Foundation to bring up new talent. Thus, even after his retirement, he remained connected to his fans.

Ramsey could never leave the music. It worked just like oxygen for him. The jazz pianist used to spend most of his time at home playing the piano and kept composing music.

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