Rays Jazz ShopRays Jazz shop was originally Collets Jazz and Folk Records " The shop moved to Shaftesbury Ave in 1974 and the following year Ray came to an agreement with Chris Barber to store and sell a vast number of mint condition 78s which Chris had picked up from a warehouse in New Jersey. They were on the Savoy, DeeGee and Bop labels, still boxed in original packaging from the late 40s, by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Wardell Gray & others. The p...

Show Notes

Rays Jazz Shop

Rays Jazz shop was originally Collets Jazz and Folk Records 

" The shop moved to Shaftesbury Ave in 1974 and the following year Ray came to an agreement with Chris Barber to store and sell a vast number of mint condition 78s which Chris had picked up from a warehouse in New Jersey. They were on the Savoy, DeeGee and Bop labels, still boxed in original packaging from the late 40s, by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Wardell Gray & others. The publicity raised the profile of the shop, television and radio publicity followed, and Peter Clayton interviewed Ray, with Matthew Wright, for a broadcast on the BBC World Service,

In 1983, Collets wanted to move the record shop but the jazz staff – Ray, Matthew and Bob Glass - had no interest in going. Ray decided that as it had been his life for nearly thirty years, he had most to lose and was more committed to it, so he bought the lease from Collets. 

They closed for a few days, pulled down a wall, repositioned the counter and reopened it as Ray's Jazz Shop, ready for trading. Ray's wife, Wendy, a professional illustrator, designed the cat logo for the shop. It quickly established itself and live music sessions were held there. It was a meeting place for musicians and legendary hipster Slim Gaillard became a regular. 


In 2002, spiralling costs and ill health forced him to give up the lease, but thanks to the endeavours of Paul Pace, the name lives on at Foyle’s in the Charing Cross Road and in the words of Georgie Fame’s song “Vinyl”.

In his final years he only occasionally moved out of his home area of Camden, but could be seen from time to time at gigs, usually accompanied by close friend and musician Paul Shearsmith. "


From Cargo Collective

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