Music Calendar

Ramsey Lewis

Multi-Winning Grammy Jazz Legend

Ramsey Lewis

“…the best vehicle for Lewis to express his mastery of keyboard touch and nuance.” – Dan Emerson, Pioneer Press

One of the legendary pianists in the history of jazz, Ramsey Lewis transcends superlative. Classically trained, he has lent his brilliant technique to the vast musical treasures of gospel and blues music, becoming one of the most accessible and widely respected pianists in music. Winner of three Grammy Awards and the recipient of an amazing 7 Gold Records (unheard of in the jazz world), Mr. Lewis is recently the recipient of a number of Lifetime Achievement Awards. He has been granted four Honorary Doctorates, and in 2007 he earned a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.

Ramsey Lewis is acclaimed for giving pop and gospel tunes a jazz treatment, and in this special show, holiday favorites will get the “Lewis treatment!” Ramsey revisits songs he recorded on his popular holiday records, 1961’s Sound of Christmas and 1964’s More Sounds of Christmas. Mr. Lewis will appear with his regular quartet featuring Henry Johnson on guitar, Joshua Ramos on bass, and Charles Heath on drums.

“Anyone who thinks this group is about resting on laurels, delivering hits, and playing it safe is mistaken.” a fantastic review of Mr. Lewis’s visit to Minnesota in August 2009

Lewis began taking lessons at age 4, learning the basics and studying fundamental classical technique and repertoire. He didn’t start playing jazz until age fifteen, when a fellow church musician talked him into joining a local 7-piece group. When several members of the group left for the Korean War, Lewis was left with the bass player and drummer: his first trio. Acutely aware of the power of pop music with younger audiences, Lewis brought those lessons to his early recording sessions: his instrumental versions of “Wade In the Water,” “Hang on Sloopy” and “In With the In Crowd” are as definitive and as popular as the original recordings themselves.

more of his story at

“the tone is dulcet and the ideas well organized, multifaceted and almost casually enlightening.” Read the rest of Britt Robson’s interview in the Star Tribune here


• “In Crowd,” from the Montreal Jazz Festival

• another classic pop tune, “Hang On Sloopy”

What Other People Have Been Saying...

“…the balance between straightforward and intricate is pretty near perfect.” -BBC

“…his gospel references were elevated and precise, enlisting a rousing backbeat but never fraying around the edges.” -New York Times

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