|Ray was born in 1923 and his
father, who was a piano and trumpet player, taught him to play the
trumpet at age seven. He's been playing ever since. He came from a
musical family, his mother sang and played the piano and banjo and
Ray played dances with the family orchestra from a very early age.
Ray's mother taught him to improvise by
ear and he still plays casuals, improvises by ear and can play
almost any tune in any key. He has played in many Bay Area big
bands over the years, still belongs to several bands, plays lead
in some of them, and gigs frequently with combos and Dixieland
Ray is a WW II veteran. He was with the
15th Airforce stationed at the Casta Lucia air base in Italy,
performing radar support for B24 bombers. He returned from the
war and used the G.I. Bill to get a degree in engineering.
was the first trumpeter to play Taps for San Jose's first annual
Day of Remembrance in 2007, a movement that is now spreading nationally.
He cites several trumpeters as his primary
influences, including Harry James, who had incredible technique,
Louis Armstrong as his chief Dixieland influence, Wynton Marsalis
for his wide range of styles, Clark Terry and Arturo Sandoval.
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