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Instructors
Ray Reach
Director of Student Jazz Programs
As a practicing professional musician of some 40+ years, Raymond E. Reach (or just plain Ray, as he prefers to be called) lives an unusually diverse musical life. Ray has kept both feet firmly planted in two musical worlds - always having one foot in academia and the other in what he calls, the "real world" of professional music. Ray produces jazz and classical records and directs the Magic City Jazz Orchestra, a recording and concert Big Band composed of some of the best jazz players Alabama has to offer.
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Dr. Frank Adams
Director of Education, Emeritus
Frank Adams learned to play the clarinet from his older brother, Oscar Adams, Jr., Alabama's first Black Supreme Court Justice. Their father, Oscar Adams, Sr., played trombone with W. C. Handy, the Father of the Blues, at Alabama A & M in Huntsville.
Adams studied music under Birmingham's Maker of Musicians, John T. "Fess" Whatley and played in Whatley's band for two years.
Then came the giants of jazz: Duke Ellington, Lucky Millinder, Tiny Bradshaw and Sun Ra. On the Birmingham jazz scene, Adams formed his own band that featured his wife Dot as vocalist. He joined the Birmingham Heritage Band in 1976.
A respected clarinet and saxophone soloist, Adams credits his first band instructor, William Wise Handy for developing his love for music. He succeeded Handy at Lincoln Elementary School. Adams was the Program Specialist for Music Instruction for the Birmingham Public School System.
Frank Adams was a Charter Member of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1978.

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