Ray Nordahl
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 bands.

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.

Ray 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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