Roger "Ram" Ramirez, 80, a jazz pianist and composer best...


January 18, 1994

Roger "Ram" Ramirez, 80, a jazz pianist and composer best known for writing "Lover Man," a song Billie Holiday recorded in 1944, died Jan. 11 of kidney failure at Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, N.Y. Though he is best known for "Lover Man," which he wrote in 1942, his career as a pianist spanned a good portion of jazz history. He was a child prodigy, and by the age of 20 he was performing with some of the best jazz musicians in New York. In 1933, he worked with the cornetist Rex Stewart and the drummer Sid Catlett, and a year later joined the Spirits of Rhythm. In 1935, he became a member of Willie Bryant's band. During the 1940s, he worked with Ella Fitzgerald, the trumpeter Frankie Newton and the big-band leader Charlie Barnet. And he spent two years working with John Kirby's influential sextet. In the 1950s, he took up the organ, and the late 1960s he toured with the blues guitarist T-Bone Walker, the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band and others.


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