Michael Ray is one of the most accomplished musicians to ever grace the stage at a Phish concert. He is most famous in jazz circles for his work with the legendary Sun Ra. For fifteen years, Ray was Brass Section Leader and a featured trumpet soloist, vocalist and dancer with the Sun Ra Arkestra. He has also worked with several Philadelphia-area soul groups and the popular 70’s R&B band Kool & The Gang, as well as Trey’s Surrender to the Air project.
Ray first appeared as a member of The Cosmic Country Horns in May of 1994. Outside of that lineup, he has appeared three times to lend his skills on trumpet while Phish performed in his hometown of New Orleans, LA: 10/14/94, for “Ya Mar” and “Cavern;” 4/26/96 at JazzFest, for “Cars Trucks Buses;” and 9/26/99, for “Cars Trucks Buses,” “Funky Bitch,” “Mozambique” and “Cavern.” He crossed paths with Phish again in 2000, as he joined the band in Albany, NY on 9/9/00 for “Sand,” “Makisupa Policeman,” “Cars Trucks Buses” and “Harry Hood.” Phish members have returned the favor by appearing several times with Ray’s Cosmic Krewe (including 3/8/94, 6/3/94, 7/26/94, 11/10/94, 2/3/95, 2/10/95, 4/30/95 and 4/28/96). That outfit contributed a medley of “Tweezer” and “Magilla” to the 2001 Phish tribute album, Sharin’ in the Groove: Celebrating the Music of Phish.
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