At about the same time I was discovering George R. Stewart, my brother, Raymond J. Scott, was beginning to study music. He started with drums; since he was a night person, that meant a few sleepless nights for me. But Ray quickly moved over to guitar, and became a fine performer. In high school, he got together with musician friends and they began to jam — again at night. One day, he invited me to a performance at “Sean’s Dad’s barn” in Clayton, California. (Sean King’s father, Robin King, inventor of the Nagra tape recorder and famous for his mellifluous San Miguel Beer commercials, retired and bought a campground — with a barn — in the farm town of Clayton.) I went, paid a buck; then listened, impressed, to the group’s version of the Grand Old Opry. Ray and his friend Jerry were the lead act, and did a fine bluegrass set.
If I had only had a camera or a recorder — it was, I believe, Jerry Garcia’s first public performance.
Later, Ray toured with Keith and Donna Gottschalk, other members of the midnight jammers. Here’s a link to a fine early performance of Ray and Keith’s band, with Ray, at Winterland in San Francisco:
The number entitled “Instrumental” is a fine showcase for Ray’s talent.
Ray has made his living as a composer and performer for many years, moving from rock to jazz to Salsa to Latin jazz. Along the way he’s been invited to perform at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite Valley, flown to Paris to play for the Millennium New Year’s eve, and been a member of the 49er football team band.
Recently, Ray has paired up with Anna Estrada. They regularly perform fine Latin jazz in several San Francisco Bay Area locations — the Cliff House in San Francisco is one — and they’ve produced and released some CDs: Sonando Vuelos and Obsesion. The CDs showcase Anna’s beautiful singing, and Ray’s current (wonderful) playing. Sonando Vuelos won the award for best Latin Jazz vocal album in 2008.
You can order those CDs from: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/AnnaEstrada
Anna (and Ray’s) latest CD will premiere this July. It’s entitled Volando and should be widely available.
George R. Stewart was a bit of a musician himself, playing the old songs of the westering on his accordion. He even joined Carl Sandburg and a couple of folk song collectors for a fireside songfest one night, in the Stewart home on Codornices. Ray and GRS both shared one great truth: Music, in many ways, is the key to all the arts. It’s been an honor, and a great lesson, to know them both.