Legendary jazz musician Ramsey Lewis, known for hits such as ‘The In Crowd’ and ‘Wade in the Water,’ passed away at the age of 87 at his home in Chicago.
According to Fox News, Jazz fans hold Lewis in high regard for songs from the 1960s like ‘The ‘In’ Crowd,’ ‘Hang on Sloopy,’ and ‘Wade in the Water.’ Three Grammys and seven gold records were earned by him. The group’s debut album, ‘Ramsey Lewis and the Gentlemen of Swing,’ was released in 1956.
Lewis died Monday in his sleep at his Chicago home, according to his son, Bobby Lewis.
Lewis began learning the piano at the age of 4. His early years were spent in Chicago, where he used his background in gospel and classical music to forge his own jazz style in the countless local clubs that employed burgeoning jazz musicians.”It gave us a lot of opportunity to try our ideas and learn what it means to perform in front of an audience,” Lewis said as he was named the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2007. He accepted the award from his mentor and fellow Jazz Master, pianist Billy Taylor.
Throughout his career, Lewis shared the stage alongside musicians such as Pat Metheney, Tony Bennett, Al Jarreau, and Aretha Franklin. Lewis released more than 80 recordings, including 30 with the Chicago-based Chess Records. He went on a globe tour and gave a performance at the state dinner for President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil that was hosted by then-President Bill Clinton in 1995.
“I believe that my father — his love for the piano and his passion for the piano and how he coveted this love and how he protected it — that gave him longevity,” Bobby Lewis said. “He recognised the gift God had given him.”
The WNUA-FM ‘Morning Show’ and the nationally broadcast ‘Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis’ In 2007, he served as the host of the weekly programme ‘Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis,’ which aired on public television stations all around the country.
According to the show’s creators, this was the first weekly appearance of jazz on network television in forty years. It featured both jazz legends and rising stars.
Lewis also spent some time advocating for organisations that gave young people access to music.