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Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Are You In or Are You Out?
Jazz festivals are happening all over the world — yeah, right now! Musicians form groups and fill the air with cool sounds. Everyone loosens up and lets the music get deep inside. This is an abstract print of an original painting of mine. It’s all jazzed up for summer!
Ramsey Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ramsey Lewis, Sr. and Pauline Lewis. Lewis began taking piano lessons at the age of four. At 15 he joined his first jazz band, The Cleffs. The seven-piece group provided Lewis his first involvement with jazz; he would later join Cleffs drummer Isaac "Redd" Holt and bassist Eldee Young to form the Ramsey Lewis Trio.
By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with "The In Crowd", "Hang On Sloopy", and "Wade in the Water". All three singles each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs. Many of his recordings attracted a large non-jazz audience. In the 1970s, Lewis often played electric piano, although by later in the decade he was sticking to acoustic and using an additional keyboardist in his groups.
Lewis still lives in Chicago, Illinois, the city of his musical roots. He has seven children, fourteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.