Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, 27 May 1935, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Lewis started playing piano at the age of six. He graduated from school in 1948, after winning both the American Legion Award as an outstanding scholar and a special award for piano services at the Edward Jenner Elementary School. He began his career as an accompanist at the Zion Hill Baptist Church, an experience of gospel that never left him. He later studied music at Chicago Music College with the idea of becoming a concert pianist, but left at the age of 18 to marry. He found a job working in a record shop and joined the Clefs, a seven-piece dance band. In 1956, he formed a jazz trio with the Clefs rhythm section (whom he had known since high school) - bass player Eldee Young and drummer Redd Holt. Lewis made his debut recordings with the Argo record label, which later became Chess Records. He also had record sessions with prestigious names such as Sonny Stitt, Clark Terry and Max Roach.
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