With heavy hearts, we join a handful of reliable sources in confirming the death of Chicago jazz legend Ramsey Lewis.
He was 87 years old.
Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey gave a touching tribute on social media (seen above), writing, “Long Live the Legendary Ramsey Lewis… Our Great Friend and Jazz Icon.” He continued by adding, “You will be sorely missed, and always remembered. God Bless and Keep you.”
Lewis, a Chi-Town native to the very end, mastered his skills on the piano beginning at the age of four. By 31, he’d developed into one of the most respected jazz pianists of the late ’60s and continued to remain just that until death. He even became a radio icon with the introduction of his Legends of Jazz show in 1990, which translated even better on television years later.
More on his iconic life here on earth below, via the Chicago Sun-Times:
“Among the honors he received over his long career were three Grammys anda a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award.
His first band, the Clefs, evolved from a college group he joined as a freshman at Wells High School. Three of the Clefs — Lewis, bassist Eldee Young, and drummer Redd Holt — later became what would become known as the classic Ramsey Lewis Trio.
Their instrumental cover of ‘The In Crowd,’ written by Dobie Gray, charged in 1965 and was followed by two more hits, ‘Hang on Sloopy’ and ‘Wade in the Water.’”
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A post from his official Facebook page confirmed that Ramsey Lewis died “peacefully at his home in Chicago” earlier this morning (Sept. 12). We send our deepest condolences to his family and those grieving along with jazz fans worldwide.
Read the full obituary below: