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Ray Reilly: Legendary Canadian Percussionist

At sixteen years of age, I first encountered Ray Reilly at Long and McQuade’s music store as an older guy with a beard playing some absolutely fantastic stuff on a snare drum. He acknowledged me checking him out. When he finished playing, he turned to me and said, “At no time when I did that did my fingers leave my hands.” A month or so later Ed Thigpen who was teaching at the Oscar Peterson School of Music, was going on the road with Oscar. Ed asked me, “Can you play?” and I said “Oh sure!” When I finished playing he said, “At least you’re still young!” Standing beside him was the guy with the beard. Ed said to me, “I know you probably don’t like classical music, but this is the guy you should study with.” Continue reading