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Artists - Gene Ramey

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Recording period between

1946-1956

A very valuable bassist closely associated with the Kansas City jazz scene, Gene Ramey's walking bass style and fairly basic but swinging solos were an asset to a countless number of sessions for several decades. Ramey was originally a trumpeter when he played with his college band, switched to sousaphone (working with George Corley's Royal Aces, the Moonlight Serenaders, and Terrence Holder), and then (in 1932 when he moved to Kansas City) switched permanently to bass, taking lessons from Walter Page. A major part of the Kansas City nightlife (appearing at many jam sessions), Ramey was with the Jay McShann Orchestra during 1938-1943. After McShann was drafted, Ramey briefly returned to Kansas City. He moved to New York in 1944 where he worked with most of the top jazz musicians, most notably Lester Young, Count Basie (in 1952), Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Charlie Parker, Hot Lips Page, and Miles Davis. Ramey was able to play quite credibly in bop groups but he was most popular in swing and mainstream circles and appeared on many records. In later years he toured Europe with Buck Clayton; performed with Muggsy Spanier, Teddy Wilson, Dick Wellstood, Jimmy Rushing, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson; and on many occasions had reunions with McShann. Gene Ramey moved back to Texas in 1976 where he was semi-retired but still performing until shortly before his death. ~ Scott Yanow

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