• Bio

    Ramsey recently released his 80th collection of songs entitled "Ramsey, Taking Another Look".


     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


  • Discography

     Title Label Year 77. "Ramsey, Taking Another Look" Hidden Beach 2011
76. “Songs from the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey” Concord 2009
75. “Urban Knights VI” Narada Jazz 2005
74. “Time Flies” Narada Jazz 2004 73. “Meant To Be” (with Nancy Wilson) Narada Jazz 2002 72. “Urban Knights IV” Narada Jazz 2001 71. “Urban Knights III” Narada Jazz 2000 70. “Appassionata” Narada Jazz 1999
69. “Dance of the Soul” GRP 1998 68. “Urban Knights II” GRP 1997 67. “Between the Keys” GRP 1996 66. “Urban Knights” GRP 1995
65. “Sky Islands” GRP 1993 64. “Ivory Pyramid” GRP 1992
63. “This is Jazz #27” Columbia 1991
62. “Electric Collection” Columbia 1991
61. “Urban Renewal” Columbia 1989
60. “We Meet Again”(w/ Billy Taylor) CBS Masterworks 1989
59. “A Classic Encounter” CBS Masterworks 1988 58. “Keys To The City” Columbia 1987
57. “Fantasy” Columbia 1985 56. “The Two of Us”(with Nancy Wilson) Columbia 1984 55. “Reunion” Columbia 1983 54. “Les Fleurs” Columbia 1983 53. “Chance Encounter” Columbia 1982 52. “Live At The Savoy” Columbia 1982 51. “Three Piece Suite” Columbia 1981 50. “Blues for the Night Owl” Columbia 1981
49. “Best of Ramsey Lewis” Columbia 1981 48. “Routes” Columbia 1980
47. “Ramsey” Columbia 1979 46. “Legacy” Columbia 1978
45. “Tequila Mockingbird” Columbia 1977
44. “Love Notes” Columbia 1977
43. “Salongo” Columbia 1976
42. “Don't It Feel Good” Columbia 1975
41. “Sun Goddess” Columbia 1974 40. “Solar Wind” Columbia 1974 39. “Newly Recorded. . .Golden Hits” Columbia 1973 38. “Funky Serenity” Columbia 1973 37. “Upendo Ni Pamoja” Columbia 1972 36. “Back to the Roots” Chess 1971
35. “Them Changes” Chess 1970 34. “The Best of Ramsey Lewis” Chess 1970
33. “The Piano Player” Chess 1969 32. “Another Voyage” Chess 1969 31. “Solid Ivory (His Greatest Hits)” Chess 1968
30. “Live in Tokyo” Chess 1968 29. “Mother Nature's Son” Chess 1968
28. “Maiden Voyage” Chess 1968
27. “Greatest Sides, Vol. 1” Chess 1967
26. “Up Pops Ramsey” Chess 1967
25. “Dancing in the Street” Chess 1967
24. “Goin' Latin” Chess 1967
23. “The Groover” (Live) Chess 1966
22. “The Movie Album” Chess 1966 21. “Wade in the Water” Chess 1966
20. “Hang on Ramsey” (Live) Chess 1965 19. “Choice! The Best of the Ramsey Lewis Trio” Chess 1965
18. “The In Crowd” Chess 1965
17. “Country Meets the Blues” Chess 1964
16. “At the Bohemian Caverns” Chess 1964 15. “More Sounds of Christmas” Chess 1964 14. “Bach to the Blues” Chess 1964
13. “Barefoot Sunday Blues” Chess 1963
12. “Pot Luck” Chess 1963
11. “The Sound of Spring” Chess 1962
10. “Bossa Nova” Chess 1962 9. “Sounds of Christmas” Chess 1961 8. “Never On Sunday” Chess 1961 7. “More from the Soil” Chess 1961 6. “Stretching Out” Chess 1960 5. “An Hour with the Ramsey Lewis Trio” Chess 1959 4. “Down to Earth”(Music from the Soil) Chess 1959 3. “Lem Winchester with the Ramsey Lewis Trio” Chess 1958 2. “Gentlemen of Jazz” Chess 1958 1. “Gentlemen of Swing” Chess 1956
  • Career

    Recording Artist

    With more than 80 albums recorded to date



    World premiere at The Blue Note Jazz Club Tokyo

    September 2010


    Proclamation of Hope

    Commissioned by Ravinia Festival to compose a new work

    to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth

    Premiere performance at Ravinia

    June 2009


    Muses and Amusements

    World premiere of new music composed for and performed

    with trio and the Turtle Island Quartet at Ravinia Festival

    June 2008


    "To Know Her..."

    World premiere of new music composed for and

    performed with the Joffrey Ballet at Ravinia Festival

    Choreographed by Donald Byrd

    June 2007


    On-Air Personality:

    “The Ramsey Lewis Morning Show”

    WNUA 95.5 FM, Chicago, IL

    from 1997-2009


    “The Ramsey Lewis Morning Show”

    Nation-wide syndication

    from 2007-2009



    Hour long national PBS special entitled “The Jazz Masters”

    featuring five winners of the NEA Jazz Masters Award:

    Nancy Wilson, James Moody, Jon Hendricks, Paquito D’Rivera

    and George Wein, as well as young vocalist Renee Olstead.

    June 2005.



    "Legends of Jazz" with Ramsey Lewis, a weekly two hour

    jazz radio program syndicated

    in numerous cities throughout the U.S.




    Music related topics at civic functions and universities including:

    University of Tennessee, Indiana University,

    Northeastern University, etc.



    Artistic Director:

    Ravinia Festival “Jazz at Ravinia” series  Chicago, IL



    “Art Tatum Professor in Jazz Studies”:

    Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL




    Of a weekly one hour interview and performance program on

    “Jazz Central,” for B.E.T. (Black Entertainment Television)

    cable television nation-wide.

    (Nominated for 2 ACE awards, 1991 and 1992)




    Ravinia Mentor Program for Ravinia Festival

    that cultivates jazz in city high schools   1995

  • Awards

    The Sword of Loyola

    for achievements of outstanding leaders

    for contributions in a field other than medicine.



    Ravinia Festival

    Elected Lifetime Trustee   May 2010

    Elected Trustee   December 2002

    Artistic Director for Jazz Series  1992-Present


    Smithsonian Institution

    Personal memorabilia inducted into the

    Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.   May 2008


    Honorary Doctorate

    Doctor of Humane Letters,

    Loyola University, Chicago, IL    May 2008


    Grammy Hall of Fame

    Induction of “The In Crowd” jazz single

    by the Ramsey Lewis Trio (Argo 1965)



    National Endowment for the Arts

    Jazz Masters Award   January 2007


     Landmarks Illinois

    Legendary Landmark Award    March 2007


     Stellar Award

    Best Gospel Instrumental Album, "With One Voice"  2006


    NAACP Image award

    (Outsatnding Jazz Artist)  2004


    Records & Radio Award

    R&R Industry Achievement Award  2003


    Olympic Torch Runner

    Carried the Winter 2002 Olympic Torch for the Ravinia

    segment during its journey to Salt Lake City    1/2002


    Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

    Gave commencement address and received award

    St. Xavier University, Chicago, IL    1/2001


    Honorary Doctorate Degree

    Gave commencement address and received award

    University of So. Carolina at Spartanburg   5/2000


    Records & Radio Award

    R&R Industry Achievement Award • Radio

    Personality of the Year – 1999 and 2000



    Recording Academy Governor’s Award 2000


    CBS Sunday Morning-Billy Taylor Jazz Segment

    CBS network television   November 16, 1997


    City of Chicago honors Ramsey Lewis Week

    Celebrated many events   May 25-29, 1998


    The prestigious Lincoln Academy of Illinois

    “Laureate” Award   Springfield, IL   April, 1997


    “Citizen of the Year”Award  (21st annual)

    Gateway Foundation (Chicago, IL)   May 1996


    Lifetime Achievement Award

    Roosevelt University (Chicago, IL)   May 1996


    Honorary Doctorate of Arts Degree

    Gave commencement address and received award

    University of Illinois at Chicago   May 1995


    White House Performance

    State dinner President Bill Clinton held for

    President Fernando Henrique & Mrs. Cardoso of Brazil

    April 1995


    “Person of the Week”

    ABC Nightly News (network)   February 1995


    Honorary Doctorate Degree

    Gave commencement address and received award

    DePaul University, Chicago, IL   June 1993


    3 Grammy® Awards

    "Hang on Sloopy"  1973

    "Hold It Right There"  1966

    "The In Crowd"  1965


    7 Gold Records

    "Sun Goddess"  album  1976

    "The Sound of Christmas"  album  1968

    "Wade in the Water"  album/single  1966

    "Hang on Sloopy"  album  1966

    "The In Crowd"  album/single  1965

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