RAY REACH - Pianist / Vocalist / Guitarist / Arranger / Composer / Producer / Educator
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A NEW RECORDING IN THE WORKS BY RAY REACH !
Ray Reach recently announced (July 2021) that he is nearing completion of a new recording titled "Rhythm and Salvation" The recording features legendary drummer Steve Gadd, saxophonist Lou Marini, Jr, trumpeter and director of the Count Basie Orchestra Scotty Barnhart, noted film composer and pianist Misha Segal and a host of other fine musicians.
As a practicing professional musician of some 49+ years, Raymond E. Reach (or just plain Ray, as he prefers to be called) lives an unusually diverse musical life. Ray has kept both feet firmly planted in two musical worlds - always having one foot in academia and the other in what he calls the "real world" of professional music. He is one of the premier in-demand jazz pianist / vocalists in the Southeast, having carved himself a niche, doing straight ahead jazz piano coupled with "Sinatra- style" vocals. As an educator, he is equally adept. From September 1998 until August 2005, Ray was Instructor of Music at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he taught music technology and directed the UAB Jazz Ensemble. After leaving UAB hhe was, 15 years, Director of Student Jazz Programs at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame (www.jazzhall.com), where he created and directed of the "Fun With Jazz" educational program, which originated through the auspices of the Alys Stephens Center for the Performing Arts, and is now offered by the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. In addition, Ray produces jazz and classical recordings and directs the Magic City Jazz Orchestra, a recording and concert Big Band composed of some of the best jazz players Alabama has to offer. Ray has performed with and arranged for numerous notable musicians, including Clark Terry, Leonard Candelaria, Ken Watters, Lou Marini, Ernie Watts, Dizzy Gillespie, Ellis Marsalis, Cleveland Eaton, Chuck Redd, Mundell Lowe, Bill Goodwin, Lew Soloff and Chaka Khan with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. He has been a regular featured musician at the annual W. C. Handy Festival in Florence, Alabama (www.wchandyfest.com) since 2003, and has also served as a faculty member of the W.C. Handy Jazz Camp.
Ray Reach has an exemplary list of successes as a jazz educator. Among the list of Ray's students we see names such as:
CHUCK TILLEY - Nashville-based drummer for Lee Greenwood, Englebert Humperdinck, and Dolly Parton. While still in high school, Chuck played drums in the All-Star High School Jazz Ensemble at the University of Alabama, directed by Ray Reach.