February 7, 1925 - June 8, 2002
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Ray started his musical career as a drummer, playing with Claude Thornhill, Bobby Byrne, the Dorsey Brothers, Stan Getz, Joe Venuti, Mel Torme, Johnny Smith, Chubby Jackson and many others. He later switched to vibes (the vibraphone) and worked with George Shearing, Charlie Barnet, Bill Evans, Anita O'Day, Mel Lewis; all in all, a "who's who" of jazz. Ray also worked with his own quartet in renowned jazz clubs such as Birdland, the Embers, Basin Street East, etc. In the early '70's he joined with Mousey Alexander to form "Alexanders the Great", a quartet which was booked frequently at the new Half Note uptown, as well as many other clubs and concerts.
Until his passing, he played in various jazz clubs in New York and the East coast, as well as college concerts and jazz festivals. In the summer he toured England and nearby European countries playing vibraphone in jazz venues and festivals.
Ray's CD and cassette "Rain in June" (on Nerus Records) got rave reviews and is still being played in the U.S., Canada, England, Japan, Sweden, and Germany. The musicians are Ray on vibraphone, Kenny Barron on piano, Warren Vaché, Jr. on cornet, Bob Kindred on tenor sax, the late Oliver Jackson on drums and Harvie Swartz on bass.
Ray has also released a CD on Cat's Paw Records, called "Vigorous Vibes", which is available in stores and through his order page, and features Ray on vibraphone, Mac Chrupcala on piano, John Anter on drums, and Marshall Wood on bass. We're pleased to say it's getting medium to heavy rotation on a number of jazz stations around the country.
His first self-released album, "Cloud Patterns" was recorded live at Eddie Condon's in 1983 and was released in 1988. It continues to do well and has received excellent reviews. The album is dedicated to the late Pepper Adams and Albert Dailey who were on the album on Bari Sax and Piano, together with Harvie Swartz on Bass, Ray Mosca on Drums and Ray on Vibraphone.
Note from Ray's family:
Ray Alexander passed away on June 8, 2002 at Long Island Jewish Hospital due to surgical complications - the result of routine surgery performed by Dr. Marc Sher on January 3, 2002. He never left the hospital (or even the ICU) from that date until his passing.
If there is any lesson to be learned from his tragic and unnecessary demise, it's this - NO surgery is "routine", no surgery is "minor". Please consider it carefully before you agree to any surgical procedure.