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Ray Avery Dies

World-renowned jazz photographer Ray Avery, whose work has graced the covers of over 150 LPs and over 125 CDs, died November 17 of a heart attack. He was 82.

Avery was born in Winnipeg, Ontario, but his family moved to Big Bear Lake, Calif. when he was six. He attended UCLA for a while before becoming a pilot in the newly formed Army Air Corps in 1943. It was during the war that Avery began taking photos, documenting his tour of duty as a transport pilot in the Pacific theater with a 35mm camera given him by his father.

After the war, Avery opened up a jazz record shop in Glendale, Calif. called Rare Records. Jazz musicians frequented the shop, especially during the early 1950s when bebop was the new thing. Avery caught it all with his camera, both in his shop and in the clubs. In addition to being used on album covers, his photos have been used in many books and documentary films. In 1990 he founded the Jazz Photographers Association of Southern California, and in 1997 published Stars of Jazz, a photo tribute to the 1950s television series of the same name.

Avery is survived by his sister, daughter, two stepsons, five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Originally Published