In the early 1930's, America was blessed with a heyday of small-band jazz, the likes of which it has not seen since.  In ballrooms across North America, hot jazz, laced with exciting improvisation, and ballads, melancholy and blue, told stories of joy and tragedy, and provided rhythm for the feet of dancers of the two-step, the Lindy and the Swing...Ray Kamalay and his Red Hot Peppers are reminiscent of this peculiar era.  With some of the finest players in the United States, they play this music with all its  excitement  and sentiment.  They have wowwed audiences at some of the very finest venues, including Interlochen, Edinburghand the Philadelphia Folk Festival
   Ray Kamalay is the singer, guitarist and leader of the group.  A Detroit native, Ray started playing professionally immediately after graduating from the University of Detroit in 1974.  Even then he showed an unusual interest in both folk music and jazz.  In that same year, while searching for the ancient Celtic muse on the Shetland Islands, he got his first big dose of the music of Django Reinhardt.  Since then his interest in both genres has only gotten bigger.
   Ray has worked in collaboration with many fine artists, includingJoel Mabus, James Dapogny, Johnny Frigo, Betty Joplin, the Chenille Sisters, Jethro Burns and Ralphe and Howard Armstrong.  In 1997 his work with the Armstrongs was nominated for the W. C. Handy Award.  A student of the music, Ray lectures periodically at the college level with a talk called "Freedom, Slavery and the roots of American Music."  His anecdotes are often highlights of the show.
 
"This band swings...hard or  soft,   fast or slow...They come out swingin' at the bell and don't stop."
                  -Hazen Schumacher,
                   NPR'sJazz Revisited
"Ray wraps himself around the music in a manner that is not only stylistically but technically faultless"
               -Kalamazoo Gazette
Ray Kamalay and his Red Hot Peppers
photo by Andy Rogers
 photo by Loraine Friedl
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