A now-obscure figure, Ray Perry was one of the top jazz violinists of the 1940's although he worked more as an alto-saxophonist. Perry, who came from a musical family (including two brothers: baritonist Joe Perry and drummer Bay Perry) started out as a violinist. He often sang along with his violin solos in his early days, inspiring Slam Stewart to adopt that practice on bass. Perry had some local jobs early on (with Dean Earl in 1935, Clarence Carter during 1937-39 and Blanche Calloway for eight months in 1940) before landing a high-profile position with Lionel Hampton. He was with Hamp from Sept. 1940 until Oct. 1943, taking a few violin solos on records. Unfortunately ill health forced him to give up touring, cutting short whatever chance he might have had for fame. Perry had later associations with J.C. Heard (1946), Sabby Lewis (1948) and Illinois Jacquet (1946-47, 1950) in addition to leading his own bands. But an early death and not enough prominent recordings has resulted in Ray Perry being unjustly forgotten. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

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