McKinley, Ray(mond Frederick)

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McKinley, Ray(mond Frederick)

McKinley, Ray(mond Frederick), jazz drummer, singer, leader; b. Fort Worth, Tex., June 18, 1910; d. Largo, Fla., May 7, 1995. His band at first was known (in 1938) as a popular boogie woogie outfit, but by 1946 was featuring the innovative works of Eddie Sauter. McKinley worked with Duncan Marion’s Orch. and the Tracy Brown Band before joining Smith Ballew in 1932, then was with the Dorsey Brothers in 1934. After the brothers split up Ray remained with Jimmy Dorsey until June 1939. Together with Will Bradley, he organized a big band that made its debut in September 1939. He continued co-leading until February 1942, when he left to form his own big band. He joined the U.S.A.A.F. and served in Europe with Glenn Miller’s Band. After Miller’s death he acted as the band’s unofficial leader until its return to the U.S. in July 1945, and then led the band until November 1945. He led his own big band 1946–50, then worked as a solo vocalist, but continued to lead his own band for specific engagements. In the spring of 1956, at the invitation of Glenn Miller’s widow, he organized a new Glenn Miller Orch. During the following year he led the band on an extensive tour of Europe; and continued to lead the band with considerable success until early 1966. McKinley then resigned as leader, his place being taken by clarinetist Buddy De France. Following a period of semi-retirement in Conn., he re-formed his own band in the late 1960s. He continued to play during the 1970s and early 1980s. In the mid- 1980s, he was performing in Britain on a popular TV program, but by the 1990s was back in the U.S., playing mostly around Fla., where he died in 1995.


Dixieland Jazz Battle, Vol. 2 (1950); Swingin’ 30s (1955); Borderline (1955); Glenn Miller Time (1965).


C. Popa, Ray McKinley and His Orch. (Zephyrhills, Fla., 1988).

—John Chilton (Who’s Who of Jazz)/Lewis Porter

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McKinley, Ray(mond Frederick)

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