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About Ray Reach

Ray Reach is one of the most in-demand jazz pianist/singers in the Southeast, specializing in straight-ahead piano with Sinatra-style vocals. Please check out his CD, "Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas," 0n iTunes and CDBaby.com.

Raymond E. Reach, Jr. (born in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American pianist, vocalist and educator, now serving as Director of Student Jazz Programs for the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. In addition, he is an accomplished guitarist, arranger, composer, conductor and music producer. Although he has composed, arranged and performed in a variety of genre, he is perhaps best known for his work in the jazz idiom.

Ray began piano lessons at age 6, studying with Giula Williams of E. E. Forbes and Sons Piano Company in Birmingham. Later, he studied piano with Carolyn Pfau and Hugh Thomas at the Birmingham Conservatory of Music. Ray attended Minor High School near Birmingham, Alabama, Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Montevallo and the University of Alabama, among others. At Birmingham-Southern, Ray studied voice with renowned New York City Opera baritone Andrew Gainey, and studied piano with Sam Howard of the concert piano duo, Hodgens and Howard. At the University of Alabama (1977 - 1980), he served as graduate assistant to noted jazz educator Steve Sample, Sr, directing the award winning Jazz Ensemble B. During his time at the University of Alabama, ASCAP presented Ray with the Raymond Hubbell Musical Scholarship, for his contributions to jazz and popular music in America.

Ray has been an active jazz educator since the early 1970s. He has taught jazz courses and computer music (MIDI) courses and workshops at numerous colleges, including Cedar Valley College in Dallas, Texas, Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Montevallo, the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas and others. From 1998 to 2005, Ray was instructor of jazz and music technology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and director of the UAB Jazz Ensemble. He is currently (2005 - present) Director of Student Jazz Programs for the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. He is also a faculty member of the W.C. Handy Jazz Camp, a regular featured performer at the W. C. Handy Music Festival and a member of the W. C. Handy Jazz All-Stars. In addition, Reach directs the "Fun With Jazz" Educational Program, which was originated through the Alys Stephens Center for the Performing Arts, and is now offered through the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

Ray has been involved with synthesizers (and later) computer-produced music since 1969, when he purchased his first Mini Moog. With the advent of MIDI, he worked in research and development for Systems Design Associates, Inc., makers of MIDI music software. Later, he co-founded the American MIDI Users Group (AMUG), which was based at the Dallas Infomart.

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