Raye Jones Avery

Raye’s Story

Raye's Head Shot World Cafe


A native of Philadelphia now residing in Wilmington, Delaware Raye has been a staple in the arts world. As the former Executive Director of the Christina Cultural Arts Center, she has been one of the original driving forces in the establishment of Wilmington’s Creative District which extends from the central business district into neglected, low income neighborhoods. Raye is stepping out again to make a more personal artistic statement on her sophomore recording project and new release, “Between” produced by long time musical mentor and enduring friend Dennis Fortune. The proverb “every shut eye ain’t sleep and every good-by ain’t gone” is a lesson preached by elders from her southern roots. Often people mistake a lack of visible absence as being gone or asleep. Raye is very much “woke”. Her emergence on the music scene is flavored by social distancing or disappearing acts as a performer. However her leadership as a curator, educator, activist and mentor remains constant.

“This recording project has been a test of endurance. “Between” my duties with various non-profit organizations, I slipped into the Hafgan Studio & Studio 505 to pour out my hunger for healing. For all that continue to speak encouragement into my Life, I am eternally grateful.”
The Universe is bountiful and makes pathways for us to fulfill our human calling. “I am so appreciative for the Artists on this project. Each Soul has great energy that exudes humility and kindness. A special offering of love and the utmost respect to Dennis. He has been so incredibly generous with his gifts for over 25 years. Shawn Q has also been very giving of his time and amazing talents. Michael Fountain and Pete Humphrey our engineers are the absolute best.”“People Make the World Go Round” and “Somewhere” are a cry for peace in Wilmington and the World. “Somewhere” is a special love song for Charles & Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. “Ode for Brownie” is original prose. I am honored to call Clifford Brown Jr. family. “First Time” is a lullaby for my grandchildren Fela, Ara, Xavier and Avery. “Ordinary People” was a piano lesson. “She’s Leaving Home” has the naked simplicity of fullness. “Where Were You?” is a long time favorite Wonderlove classic.”

Download music at Bandcamp. “Sistah Girl’s Lament”, Raye’s debut recording was produced and arranged by Dennis Fortune and covers the Rodgers & Hart classic “My Favorite Things”, “Never Can Say Goodbye”, and her self-composed tribute to Phyllis Hyman, titled “We Miss You Phyllis” and the title track “Sistah Girl’s Lament”. These recordings are on YouTube. Both recordings are a wonderful collection of jazz, R&B and blues inspired compositions that convey the miraculous ability to feel joy even in the presence of struggle. Raye describes her work as a “deeply personal but creative expression of life’s twists and turns. Raye has been honored to collaborate with very accomplished musicians: Dennis Fortune (piano), Suzzette Ortiz, (piano/choral master), Harry “Butch” Reed & John Coley(drums), Michael Cruse(bass), Madison Rast (bass), Clifton Kellem (bass), Pape Demba Samb “Paco” (African percussion), E. Shawn Qaissaunee (guitar), Ron Sutton Jr., (saxophone), Tony Smith (trumpet), Gerald Chavis (trumpet), Fostina Dixon (woodwinds), Dexter Koonce (piano/guitar), Brandy Jones Osimokun, Darnell Miller, Donna T. Jones, Rene Ginett, Gail Hooks, Solomon Trotter (vocalists), Melody Dale, Dara S. Meredith, Gabrielle Hillard (choreographers), Bebe Coker and Kim Graham, (poets) Donchell Powell, Ivan Thomas, Wendell Raulston Jr., Tabita Ares, Kimberley Chambers, Matt Loeb Catalyst Visuals (marketing).  

“Blessed with a cool and controlled contralto, reminiscent of Jean Carne’s ebullient phrasing and diction, Jones delivers a dynamic and diversified program of standards and original compositions, drawn from Broadway, R&B, Brazilian and jazz idioms. Her ability to swing is matched by the way she brings a lyric to life. At a time when singers are homogenized for mass consumption, Raye Jones’ artistry is a well needed breath of fresh air propelled by her integrity and individuality.”
– Eugene Holley, Jr. Contributor Amazon.com, Philadelphia Weekly,and the Village Voice.

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