Album:Sun Goddess: Expanded Edition
Pianist Ramsey Lewis has always mixed jazz with R & B. He had a big hit with The In Crowd in 1965. His second biggest hit was Sun Goddess in 1974. This song has been very influential and is frequently sampled by hip hop guys. The two hits are on different labels and don't appear on the same CD. Lewis was born May 27, 1935 in Chicago and played piano in church. He started out in jazz in the 50s and signed with Chess Records and recorded for Argo and Cadet. After the In Crowd was a big hit in 1965, drummer Isaac "Redd" Holt and bassist Eldee Young left to form Young-Holt Unlimited. The new drummer was Maurice White. White left to form Earth, Wind & Fire in 1969. Lewis moved to Columbia Records in 1972 which was also EW&F's label. After Lewis recorded a couple of albums with his trio, White suggested recording with EW&F. That was the 1974 album Sun Goddess. The single Sun Goddess was Lewis' biggest hit since The In Crowd. And the album was very successful on the R & B charts. Sun Goddess was written by Maurice White and Jon Lind. White produced the album and several EW&F members appeared including Charles Stepney on guitar, Verdine White on bass, Maurice White on drums, Don Myrick on sax and Philip Bailey on background vocals. This was the first time Lewis played electronic instruments. EW&F plays Sun Goddess on their live shows. An expanded edition of Sun Goddess was released on CD by the R & B reissue label Funky Town Grooves as a budget CD. Sun Goddess was sampled by Mos Def on the 1999 song Mr. Nigga. Lewis' next two albums were produced by Stepney who he knew from his Chess Records days. But Stepney died in 1976. Lewis recorded for Columbia until 1989 and has also recorded for GRP, Narada, Concord and Hidden Beach. He still tours and lives in Chicago. His Ramsey Lewis Foundation is dedicated to teaching music to at risk children in Chicago. Here's Ramsey Lewis with Henry Johnson on guitar, Mike Logan on keyboards, Chuck Webb on bass and Steve Cobb on drums at Jazz Club in Germany Mar. 1990.