MUSIC MONDAY: The “In” Crowd: A Celebration of Jazz Legend Ramsey Lewis (LISTEN)

by Marlon West (FB: marlon.west1 Twitter: @marlonw IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)

Happy Monday, you all. It’s your friend and selector, Marlon West, back with another dose of fine music.

Earlier this month we lost jazz legend, Ramsey Lewis. He can be credited with extending the life of jazz on the pop charts with his cover of Dobie Gray’s “The ‘In’ Crowd.”

Open in Spotify

It spent 16 weeks on the Billboard Top 100 and rose as high as No. 5. The album spent 12 weeks in the top spot among best-selling R&B albums.

Throughout his decades-long career, Lewis was the maestro of jazz crossover. Ramsey Lewis’ trio included bassist Eldee Young and drummer Red Holt.

They received not only chart success with “The ‘In’ Crowd” but also cultural acclamation: the cut earned him the Grammy award for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance.

“Improvisation that should swing, have some forward motion to it, even if it’s a ballad, to have some movement about it. Where are you going to find that spontaneous improvisation in the moment except in jazz?” Lewis told Molly Murphy in a 2006 interview for the National Endowment For the Arts.

Lewis was born in Chicago on May 27, 1935 and grew up in the Cabrini Green housing project. He started taking piano lessons at a young age and played at church, where his father was choir director.

Throughout his life he always returned to his hometown and as a teacher and mentor. Here’s some of the best of Ramsey Lewis. Enjoy!

“See” ya next month! Just in time for a soulful and funky Halloween offering.

And as always, stay safe, sane, and kind.

Marlon West (photo courtesy Marlon West)