"A One Night Stand with the Big Bands"
(As originally broadcast on WTIC, Hartford, CT)

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Program 42 - July, 1975 - Ray Beller

Taken at the home of George and Faye Lawrence in Manchester CT
following a concert in Bushnell Park, Hartford CT on Aug 6, 1979.

Left to Right: Jimmy Rowles, Ray Beller, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, George
Lawrence, Bill Crow, Faye Lawrence, Mousey Alexander, Mort Fega.

Ray Beller was born in New York in 1920, but his family moved to Wilimantic, Connecticut, when he was about nine. That's when he took up the alto sax. He played with many of the big bands, including Will Bradley, Ray McKinley, Benny Goodman, and Stan Kenton, among others.

Beller is an excellent example of the  musicians who contributed to the big band era while remaining virtually anonymous.  Never a headliner, he played sax for and alongside most of the legendary musicians of that time.  His section work was exceptional and his solos - however rare - provide eloquent testimony to the quality of musicianship which permeated those bands.  After all the travel and adventure of his life on the road, Beller settled back in Manchester in his native Connecticut and opened a music store to stay close to the profession he loved and to which he contributed so much. He was one of the premier sax players of the Big Band era. Mr. Beller died in 2000 at age 79.

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Program 42 - July, 1975 - Ray Beller

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