Ramsey Lewis dies: Grammy winner and NEA Jazz Master was 87

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Ramsey Lewis, a jazz pianist and composer who surprisingly hit the charts in 1965 with the hit song “The In Crowd,” died Monday at the age of 87. his home in Chicago” this morning.

Lewis, a three-time Grammy winner, was also honored with a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award.

Lewis, bassist Eldee Young and drummer Redd Holt became the classic Ramsey Lewis Trio. The group met in high school as freshmen.

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Their instrumental cover of “The In Crowd”, written by Dobie Gray, was followed by two more hits, “Hang on Sloopy” and “Wade in the Water”.

Lewis was an accomplished performer thanks to the many live music venues in his native Chicago.

“It was great because it got musicians on their feet [in the ranks] the chance to get their act together, hook their performance,” he said in a 2018 Chicago Sun-Times interview. “It gave them a chance to try this style of music, that style of music. You weren’t ready for Orchestra yet. Hall, but there’s a bar on the corner that will pay you a few bucks, give you some Coca-Cola and you can bring your group in and play whatever you want.There were hardly any weekends where you couldn’t find a place to perform And it was great.”

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Details on survivors or memorial plans were not immediately available.