Jazz pianist and Chicago legend Ramsey Lewis died on Monday at the age of 87. He led the Ramsey Lewis Trio with drummer Isaac “Red” Holt and bassist Eldee Young in the 1960’s. In 1966, the group won the Best Jazz Performance Grammy for The In Crowd, recorded live in Washington, DC. The title track reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart in 1965.
I always forget to include Ramsey Lewis when I talk about my early jazz influences along with The Dave Brubeck Quartet and Vince Guaraldi. He was a giant in jazz education in the Chicago area, and hosted the weekly syndicated radio show Legends of Jazz. From the late ’90’s until 2009, he was the morning host on Jazz and New Age station WNUA in Chicago. He’ll be missed.