Ray is a pianist, vocalist, guitarist, arrange, composer and producer!
As a practicing professional musician of some 44+ 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. He is currently Director of Student Jazz Programs at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame (www.jazzhall.com), and is the creator and director 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, Jr., 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 is also a faculty member of the W.C. Handy Jazz Camp.