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Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones


Raymond Jones

Miami Florida - Photo taken by Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones


Raymond Jones HEN YOU CAN INSTANTLY IDENTIFY EMOTIONS OF LOVE, COMPASSION AND FORTITUDE WITHIN A SERIES OF ADORINGLY ORCHESTRATED CHORD PROGRESSIONS, YOU ARE LIKELY LISTENING TO THE MUSIC OF RAYMOND JONES.

His sensitivity to, respect for and mastery of music elevated him to the highest echelons of admiration within the arts community. Raymond‟s passions for life, joy, artistic excellence, freedom and utter-keeping-itreal-ness rushed as fluidly from his fingers onto piano keys as they did from his heart to yours. To know Raymond Jones, you have felt his love, shared his laughter, been pushed in some manner beyond your comfort zone for the better and - most importantly - known how it feels to be unconditionally loved for simply, honestly being you. Raymond Jones was born December 13, 1958 in New York City to Herman and Charlotte Jones, both of whom worked as civil servants for the city. Young Raymond was a very active and curious child. He wanted to know what made things work and what was going on beneath the surface. “He liked to get into things and fool around,” his mother recalls. Raymond first exhibited an interest in music around the age of 4. When he was 8, he and his big sister Marcia would attend the Third Street Music Settlement in Manhattan every Saturday morning. Raymond proved exceptionally gifted. “He was a very good dancer, too,” his mother adds. Raymond attended Intermediate School 72 (I.S. 72) in Queens for junior high school, then advanced to the prestigious math/science/engineering institution Brooklyn Technical High School with class mates that included future Living Colour guitar shredder Vernon Reid and soul

crooner Miles Jaye. Raymond‟s first exposure to a recording studio was when he and two buddies cut class to attend a session for soul-jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers‟ album A Tear to A Smile that lasted long into the night at Jimi Hendrix‟s famed Electric Lady Studios. It was there that Raymond got a good glimpse of the musician‟s life destined to become his. He was already in his salad years as a professional musician, playing with Latin bands and falling under the spell of the almighty clave pulse. Most of his training was done with private instructors or by his own accord. Embracing and integrating music from around the globe and in genres of Rhythm & Blues, Rock, Jazz, Club and Classical, his influences and inspirations were exhaustive - though he deeply appreciated Chicago composer/arranger/producer Charles Stepney, Brazilian songwriter Milton Nascimento and jazz/classical pianist Keith Jarrett as kindred spirits. For all of the amazing things he would go on to accomplish as a leader and player, Raymond never ceased being a student of music in all its pan-cultural wonder. During the process of building his reputation in local jazz bands as well as dance outfits like Ecstasy, Pleasure & Pain, Raymond was invited by drummer Tony Thompson to sit in on a gig with bassist Bernard Edwards and guitarist Nile Rodgers. The headstrong duo was putting together a unique group that would celebrate “dance” music down through the ages in a continuum of swing and funk with classical and cinematic flourishes, distinguishing itself from the mustier masses. Fittingly, the band would be called Chic and 19 year-old Raymond fit them like a black silk glove. Along with singers Norma Jean Wright, Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, Rob Sabino and the “Chic Strings,” Raymond enjoyed a turbulent yet

Raymond Jones AFTER UEG

RELOCATING FROM

PROJECT,

WOODLAND HILLS, CALIFORNIA

HILLSIDE STORIES (2007). HE

TO

ATLANTA, JONES

RECORDED HIS FINAL

ALSO RECORDED ONE HOLIDAY SINGLE:

“CHRISTMAS

BLUE” B/W “THE FIRST NOEL.” JONES COMPOSED A PIECE FOR THE MULTI-MOVEMENT BALLET “MOVE” BY THE DEEPLY ROOTED BALLET COMPANY OF

CHICAGO. HE

BEFORE IT LEFT

RAYMOND

ALSO MADE VITAL MUSICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE MUSICAL

“FELA”

BROADWAY FOR THE TOUR CIRCUIT.

IS SURVIVED BY HIS MOTHER

CHARLOTTE JONES OF JAMAICA, QUEENS, HIS NIECE ZUBAIDAH

GUY OF JAMAICA, QUEENS, HIS HALF SISTER GWENDOLYN MAXWELL AND HIS HALF BROTHER ARTHUR HARDEN, SISTER IN LAW CAROLYN HARDEN, NEPHEW ARTHUR HARDEN JR., NIECE KELLY WARREN, NIECES CARLA JONES, ELAINE JONES AND BRENDA JONES, JOHN & ELLEN JONES, DONNA JONES, NEPHEWS DALE JONES, STACY JONES AND MARK JONES, FIRST COUSINS ANDREW & LIZ JONES, SHIRLEY MURRAY, RICHARD MURRAY, TOMMY MURRAY AND RONALD HARTRIDGE, AND A HOST MORE FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIENDS.


Raymond Jones AFTER

MEETING FILM DIRECTOR

SPIKE LEE

THROUGH A HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND,

WRITE AND PRODUCE SONGS FOR FIVE OF HIS FILMS INCLUDING

ALONE TONIGHT”

SUNG BY FICTIONAL GIRL GROUP

“NEVER EXPLAIN LOVE” SUNG A

LIFE”

SUNG BY

BY

JONES

Raymond Jones

WENT ON TO

“SCHOOL DAZE” (FEATURING “BE

THE RAYS), “DO THE RIGHT THING” (FEATURING

AL JARREAU), AND “CLOCKERS” (FEATURING “PEOPLE IN SEARCH OF

MARC DORSEY). LEE

RAYMOND

ALSO SIGNED

TO HIS

FORTY ACRES

AND A

MULE

MUSIC WORKS/SONY RECORD LABEL VIA THE DUO STATE OF ART, A SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS SOUL GROUP THAT REUNITED HIM WITH HIS FRIEND FROM ONE PROJECT FOR

LEE’S

CHIC,

SINGER

NORMA JEAN WRIGHT. THEY

SHORT-LIVED MUSIC COMPANY TITLED

COMMUNITY

RECORDED

FEATURING THE

TOP 40

BILLBOARD R&B SINGLE “UNDERSTANDING”. JONES ALSO PRODUCED THE MUSIC FOR THE 2009 SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL FOR PEPSI FEATURING BEYONCE’ AND DIRECTED BY LEE. JONES

ALSO DID STINTS WITH SINGER/SONGWRITER

BANDS INCLUDING

CONTRIBUTED MUSIC PRODUCTION TO MOVIES SUCH AS

“TAPEHEADS.” HE

AND

PRODUCED SONGS FOR THE

AND AN ECLECTIC ARRAY OF

MATERIAL, TALKING HEADS, TOM TOM CLUB, AND ECSTASY, PASSION AND PAIN.

IN HOLLYWOOD, JONES GIRL,” “SPLASH”

NONA HENDRYX,

“SOUL MEN”

SCORED THE RIBALD COMEDY FILM

STARRING

SAMUEL L. JACKSON

AND

“LITTLE DRUMMER

“WASABI TUNA.” HE

BERNIE MAC. AND

HE WAS

MUSIC DIRECTOR FOR FOX-TV’S “THE KEENEN IVORY WAYANS SHOW.”

JONES

LAUNCHED

UEG MUSIC

IN THE LATE

1990S,

CLIMATE THAT WAS RIPE FOR INDEPENDENT ARTISTS.

TAKING FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE INDUSTRY

HE

WOULD RECORD AND RELEASE FIVE

CDS

ON

UEG, MAKING HIS MUSICAL MAIDEN VOYAGE WITH ACTS OF LOVE (1997), FOLLOWED BY NAKED SOUL (1999)

WHICH FEATURED HIS SIGNATURE SONG,

SUNG IN

PORTUGUESE

BY

WILL

WHEATON. NEXT

CAME

FROM THE LUTHER

VANDROSS SONGBOOK (2004) IN TRIBUTE TO HIS GOOD FRIEND WHOM HE WORKED

WITH IN

CHIC.

INTIMATE (2001)

“CODAJAS,”

AND THE SOLO PIANO RECORDING

SO AMAZING: SONGS

thrilling four-year magic carpet ride of history-making hits, gold and platinum albums, tours around the world, and all the madness that comes with them. Joining “The Chic Organization” just in time for its second album C’est Chic in 1978, Raymond graced classics such as “Le Freak,” “I Want Your Love,” “My Forbidden Lover” and the summertime standard “Good Times” (from Risque’) that became a bedrock sample in Hip Hop. He also contributed to songs produced by Edwards & Rodgers such as “Upside Down” by superstar Diana Ross and the anthem “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge – among many others. “Chic inspired me to do what I believe in,” Raymond once mused. “Everything has its time and an audience will find what you do if you are true to your musical vision.” A longtime fan of the vocal trio LaBelle, Raymond was ecstatic to be asked to record and perform with that group‟s sensually singular singer/songwriter Nona Hendryx in a band that was expanding upon a progressive blend of rock and soul. Further work with alternative groups such as Bill Laswell‟s Material, Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club followed. Raymond co-wrote the 1983 club hit “Build Me a Bridge” by German sensation Adel Bertei, produced by English synthesizer wiz Thomas Dolby. He also aced mainstream gigs with R&B stars Chaka Khan and Deniece Williams. It was at this time that the ubiquitous George Duke implored Raymond to come to Los Angeles and assist him with the plethora of production assignments falling into his lap. Raymond scored a Top 5 R&B/Top 30 Pop hit right out of the box by composing “Stay With Me Tonight,” the peppy high-tech synth and electronic drums-pulsed title track of former LTD lead singer Jeffrey Osborne‟s second solo album. When the record took off, Raymond, too, took flight as the Musical Director for Osborne‟s band on the road when he wasn‟t working with Duke on

further projects for the likes of Angela Bofill, Joyce “Baby Jean” Kennedy and Stephanie Mills (for whom he wrote the Quiet Storm burner “Rising Desire”). In `84, he logged another Top 10 R&B hit for Osborne with the dance track “The Borderlines,” a song of romantic intrigue about a forbidden intercontinental love affair. Then in `85, he placed “Someone for Me” – a song he co-wrote with “Ready” Freddie Washington – on Whitney Houston‟s self-titled debut Lp. It was released as a single in the U.K., but not in the U.S. Nevertheless, the full album has sold over 13 million copies in the U.S. and 25 million worldwide. Raymond‟s bank account and industry cache‟ went through the ceiling. In Hollywood, Raymond got his feet wet with music production in movies such as “Little Drummer Girl,” “Splash” and “Tapeheads.” Still, Raymond kept his friends close and new friends were always welcome. The same buddies he cut class with to see the Roy Ayers session came together again to meet a new film director named Spike Lee to discuss potential investment in his first major movie, “She‟s Gotta Have It.” Raymond proved more invaluable as a songwriter/producer for Spike‟s next big motion picture extravaganza – a musical drama titled “School Daze.” Raymond contributed the music, lyrics and production to two key songs for the 1988 project. The first, “Be Alone Tonight,” is a Reggaekissed soul piece sung in the film by the fictional Black college girl group The Rays (short for Gamma Rays in keeping with the fraternity-sorority storyline but also as a nod to Mr. Jones). The group consisted of lead singer Tisha Campbell and members Jasmine Guy, Paula Brown & Angela Ali. So popular with moviegoers was the song that it was released as a single and video,


Raymond Jones and today is often reprised by gleeful wanna be‟s – professional and amateur alike.

Marvin Davis) and “Welcome” (Marc Dorsey).

Raymond‟s second contribution to “School Daze” is the closing credits theme “We Already Said Goodbye (Before We Say Hello),” an ambitiously arranged “so long” love song performed by Washington D.C.‟s Pieces of a Dream, augmented by vocal powerhouse Portia Griffin and saxophonist supreme Branford Marsalis. This is the first of Raymond‟s compositions that pointed to the full scope and breadth of his artistry via its emphatic syncopation, sophisticated harmony and incorporation of strings arranged by the great Clare Fischer who would become a kindred partner in key works to come.

Screen-wise, Raymond and Spike Lee collaborated twice more – on a proposed movie version of “Rent,” and a grand 2003 Pepsi television commercial starring Beyonce‟, inspired by Bizet‟s “Habanera” from the opera “Carmen.” Lee also signed Raymond to his Forty Acres and a Mule Music Works venture (through Sony) as half of the duo State of Art, a socially and culturally conscious soul group that reunited him with his friend from Chic, Norma Jean Wright. They recorded one richly eclectic project for Lee‟s short-lived music company titled Community featuring the Top 40 Billboard R&B single “Understanding,” graced with an intricate sting arrangement over a tight Soul II Soul-esque beat definitive of the era, plus a video directed by Lee. “Laughing at the Years” was the follow-up single and Lee shot a video for a third selection titled “Beating Heart.” All involved called in an astonishing collection of guests - from jazz sax legend Joe Henderson and South African vocal ambassadors Ladysmith Black Mambazo to funk bass king William “Bootsy” Collins. In addition to State of Art, Raymond produced half of singer/songwriter/actress Lonette McKee‟s 40 Acres release, Natural Love.

Raymond contributed several songs to four more of Lee‟s films. To the iconic “Do The Right Thing” (1989) he produced and/or copenned the closing credits theme “Never Explain Love” sung by Al Jarreau, as well as “Feels So Good” and “Prove to Me” by the sister vocal quartet Perri, and “Hard to Say,” a duet by Gerald Alston and Lori Perry. To the modern jazz/love triangle story “Mo‟ Better Blues” (1990), Raymond musically and lyrically adapted the classic “Harlem Blues” – originally from the pen of Memphis music master W.C. Handy: The Father of The Blues - and featured actress Cynda Williams who performed the song in a pivotal scene in the film portraying aspiring singer “Clarke Bentancourt.” Jumping five years to the gritty inner city parable “Clockers” (1995), Raymond composed and produced the thoughtprovoking main title theme “People in Search of a Life” sung by then-up-andcomer Marc Dorsey. And the next year for “Get on the Bus” (1996) - Lee‟s homage to the historic Million Man March - Raymond wrote and produced two of the only original songs from a set of primarily pre-recorded songs: “I Love My Woman” (sung by

All the while, Raymond was growing ever in-demand as a contributor to albums by artists that sought him out not necessarily for chart-topping singles, rather sophisticated spice tracks that consistently became fan favorite album cuts, beloved for their emotional and musical depth. Prime examples are “Last Goodbye,” the closing song from Lisa Fischer‟s So Intense, “Better as a Memory” and the mind-blowing “Do You Suppose” from Lalah Hathaway‟s sophomore CD A Moment, and the power ballad “I Can‟t Complain” by diva Patti Labelle for her CD Be Yourself.

Raymond Jones

AYMOND

JONES,

SEMINAL DANCE BAND

A HIT-MAKING SONGWRITER, PRODUCER AND KEYBOARDIST FOR THE

CHIC, WHITNEY HOUSTON, JEFFREY OSBORNE, PATTI LABELLE, STEPHANIE

MILLS AND SONGS IN FIVE FILMS BY SPIKE LEE, DIED ON FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2011. JONES, 52, DIED OF PNEUMONIA AT SOUTH FULTON MEDICAL CENTER IN ATLANTA. RAYMOND JONES WAS BORN DECEMBER 13, 1958 IN NEW YORK CITY TO HERMAN AND CHARLOTTE JONES,

AND RAISED IN

LAURELTON, QUEENS. HIS

PARENTS WERE CIVIL SERVANTS WORKING FOR THE

CITY OF NEW YORK. ALONG WITH HIS OLDER SISTER MARCIA, YOUNG RAYMOND RECEIVED HIS INITIAL MUSIC INSTRUCTION ON PIANO BEGINNING AT

MANHATTAN

8

YEARS-OLD AT

FOLLOWED BY YEARS OF PRIVATE STUDY.

HE

THIRD STREET MUSIC SETTLEMENT

ATTENDED

IN

INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL 72

QUEENS AND BROOKLYN TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL. JONES

WAS

19

YEARS-OLD WHEN HE JOINED

BERNARD EDWARDS’

AND

NILE RODGERS’

GROUP

PLAYING KEYBOARDS ON THE INTERNATIONAL SMASHES

”GOOD TIMES”, “LE FREAK”

YOUR LOVE”,

DIANA ROSS’S “UPSIDE DOWN"

AS WELL AS

CHIC

PRODUCTIONS SUCH AS

AND

CHIC,

“I WANT

AND

SISTER

SLEDGE’S UNIVERSAL ANTHEM “WE ARE FAMILY". JONES

BECAME MUSICAL DIRECTOR FOR RHYTHM

TOP 10 R&B HIT

HITS

“BUILD ME

A

“STAY WITH ME TONIGHT”

BRIDGE”

BY

MEMORABLE GEMS SUCH AS

SUPPOSE”,

GERMAN

SONG

WAS A HIGHLIGHT OF WORLDWIDE.

BLUES ARTIST JEFFREY

AND

SENSATION

“BORDERLINES”. HE

ADEL BERTEI,

OSBORNE

AND PENNED HIS

CO-WROTE THE

1983

CLUB

AND LATER WROTE AND PRODUCED

LISA FISCHER’S “LAST GOODBYE”, LALAH HATHAWAY’S “DO YOU

AND THE POWER BALLAD

YOURSELF. JONES’

&

“SOMEONE

“I CAN’T COMPLAIN”

FOR

ME” (CO-WRITTEN

BY

PATTI LABELLE

WITH BASSIST

FOR HER

CD BE

FREDDIE WASHINGTON)

WHITNEY HOUSTON’S SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM WHICH SOLD 25 MILLION UNITS


Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

Regarding a certain cast member’s singing abilities, from a popular Bravo TV series. He was asked the question, if someone is tone deaf, can they be trained to sing in key? Ray swiftly replied, “They taught Helen Keller 2 communicate.” Then added, “…She is a walking talking example of using technology to enhance one’s life.”

Raymond was also called to be Music Director for the short-lived “Keenen Ivory Wayans Show” putting the on-camera allfemale band through its paces behind the scenes. “I learned how to run a band from Bernard Edwards,” Raymond once sated…which means those young ladies were made to put in W.O.R.K. Finally ready to embark upon his lifelong dream of recording his own music, Raymond launched UEG Music, taking full advantage of the industry climate that was ripe for independent artists. In an interview posted on the website chictribute.com, Raymond reasoned of his segue into solo work, “All those other things were done with the idea in mind that I would be able to share my musical vision with the world one day. Now with the Internet and low cost means of producing high quality product, that dream is becoming reality.” Raymond would record and release five CDs on UEG. Raymond made his musical maiden voyage in 1997 with Acts of Love, a heart-on-sleeve project of bold vulnerability comprised of ballads, instrumentals, club jams and poetry interludes. It also established his solo works as not only outlets for his writing, singing, playing and production creativity, but also that of lovingly cast musical friends he believed in and for whom he wished to provide first class showcases for their talents. Highlights included “Woman‟s Touch” featuring singer/co-writer Alex Brown, and the cinematic love waltz “It All Comes Around” sung by Alexx Daye.. He followed this album up with the even stronger Naked Soul (1999) which featured the song that would become his signature, “Codajas,” about a municipality located in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, and sung in Portuguese by Arnold McCuller. Raymond shot an evocative video of himself blending in among the locals and locale of Brazil, among his favorite places on Earth. Also

featured on this 11-song project are the lightly swingin‟ “So Many Close to You” (sung by Lynne Fiddmont), the pulsating bottom heavy instrumental “South Beach Fantasy,” the cautionary “The Easy Way,” and a solo piano meditation titled “Peaceful Journey” in memory of his father. Next came Intimate (2001) featuring the sultry “Bad for Me,” his modern takes on Blues (“Dance”) and Salsa (“I Hope We‟ll Be Dancing”), and the introspective instrumental “Destiny.” Raymond next realized another dream by sojourning to Chick Corea‟s Mad Hatter Studios to record the solo piano project So Amazing: Songs from the Luther Vandross Songbook (2004), in tribute to the good friend he worked with in Chic. A few years prior, Vandross had invited Raymond to play solo piano at an exclusive press soiree‟ which inspired him to record the CD…though after Vandross had a stroke, Raymond did not wish for anyone to think he was sentimentally cashing in on his friend‟s misfortune. The 9 songs swing from a buoyantly boppin‟ take on “Killing Me Softly” to penetrating excursions thru “There‟s Nothing Better Than Love” and “Here and Now.” Raymond recorded his final project, Hillside Stories (2007), after relocating from Woodland Hills, California to Atlanta, Georgia. It is a politically explosive timebomb – 13 original songs in the spirit of heroes Nina Simone, Gil Scott-Heron, and MeShell NdegeOcello that chronicle life injustices and unsavory realities using characters and scenarios from around the world. Though every song here is essential, particularly arresting are “2040” (twisted prophetical observations that smack of Steely Dan), a nod of solidarity to the Black revolutionary freedom fighters of the `60s and `70s titled “Dossier,” the farewell to a friend “Eastern Bay” (featuring Randy Hall on acoustic and electric guitars), and a prayer for displaced and exploited children


Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

titled “Promenade.” Also of note, “The Irony” details why he had to get out of L.A… Raymond also recorded one holiday single for UEG: his composition “Christmas Blue” b/w “The First Noel.”

The recordings of Raymond Jones are the souvenirs we will forever have within our reach to remember him by. But the true righteous essence of Raymond lies in his heart which always led him to endeavor in benevolent acts of tribute, honor and respect for artists, art forms and entities he deemed “worthy.” And he was quick to pull in as many of his friends as he could to make them happen. These projects include a sold out all-star tribute to pianist Kenny Kirkland at Catalina Bar & Grill in Los Angeles with all money going to assist his family in the wake of his sudden passing in 1988. More recently was his 2009 fundraising concert in Brooklyn for African historian Dr. Yosef.A. ben-jochannan. Before his own passing, Raymond was also organizing a living tribute to cancer-stricken Chic-co-founder Nile Rodgers. Such was the heart of the man. Raymond was very proud to have been commissioned to compose a piece for the multi-movement ballet “Move” by the Deeply Rooted ballet company of Chicago. He also made vital musical contributions to the musical “Fela” before it left Broadway for the tour circuit. After all those years of writing great songs for Spike Lee‟s films, Raymond scored an entire picture with the ribald comedy “Wasabi Tuna” (2003), followed by the unforgettable task of producing songs for actor/comedians Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson to „sing‟ in another comedy, “Soul Men” (2008). Clearly, Raymond was never averse to rolling up his sleeves.

Raymond was always developing projects as if on a mission, one of which was his concept for a revolving door band of soul musicians he dubbed The Ministers of Soul. A show in Los Angeles featured Steve Ferrone on drums, Freddie Washington on bass, Fred Clark on guitar, Hense Powell on keys and singer Will Wheaton along with Raymond and a horn section. He‟d hoped to stage similar shows with different cats in New York, Atlanta, Florida and D.C. Another dream project he‟d hoped to realize was an event in Atlanta that brought together great musicians from the many nations he visited in Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean. If anyone ever deserved to declare “I Am the Black Gold of the Sun” it was Raymond Jones. We will miss his kindness, his comedic irreverence, the contagiousness of his laughter and his “quiet intensity – always on top of things but never loud about it,” as fellow keyboardist Onaje Allan Gumbs describes remembering him back on the Chaka Khan tour. Raymond was crazy for phenomenal music, hot gadgets, real people, CNN and the gym. He was strong minded and extremely opinionated. He did not suffer fools tactfully and was intolerable toward talented folks he felt were wasting their gifts. He strove to help others in hopes of seeing them pull themselves to even higher heights. He was a leader, a teacher, a motivator and an inspiration. And Raymond was the best band mate, friend, brother, uncle and son one could ever have. Raymond Jones passed away on Friday, July 1, 2011, of pneumonia at South Fulton Medical Center in Atlanta, GA. He was 52. Raymond is survived by his mother Charlotte Jones of Jamaica, Queens, his niece Zubaidah Guy of Jamaica, Queens, his half sister Gwendolyn Maxwell and his half brother Arthur Harden, sister in law Carolyn Harden, nephew Arthur Harden Jr., niece Kelly Warren, nieces Carla Jones, Elaine


Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011 Jones and Brenda Jones, John & Ellen Jones, Donna Jones, nephews Dale Jones, Stacy Jones and Mark Jones, first cousins Andrew & Liz Jones, Shirley Murray, Richard Murray, Tommy Murray and Ronald Hartridge, and a host more family and close friends. In life, Raymond danced a mean push and pull when it came to acknowledging his outstanding accomplishments or accepting accolades. He was far more comfortable giving than receiving. For this reason, few truly knew the extent of all he‟d done in his lifetime. With exceeding love and bittersweet saudade (a Brazilian Portuguese term meaning “nostalgic longing for someone that one was fond of”), we are ensuring that the world now knows. All gathered here today - as well as his fans and friends around the globe in every realm of the social networking community that has made the world a more intimate place - were fortunate to have known Raymond and have priceless chapters to cherish and share. Raymond rests easy in the knowing of this and now implores us thusly thru his song “Have a Laugh”: “Find your happiness wherever you may…and share a laugh with an old friend.” – A. Scott Galloway


Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

Worker in Salvador near elevator that runs between Pelourinho and the marketplace/ports below. Photo from Ray’s trip to Brasil March 2010.

.


Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011 Vernon Reid Raymond, I will always hold you in my heart. You've been like a brother to me since we met in the back of Ms. Ross's class in Brooklyn Tech, way back in the Jurassic. We laughed our heads off & never fit in! You helped light my way with your musical brilliance & integrity. I would NEVER have dreamed of becoming a musician AT ALL, if not for your extraordinary love & passion for Jazz, Rock, & Funk. My heart is shocked & broken on this Sunday morning, along with too many others. Rest In Peace Ray. May the Orishas carry you home & Our Ancestors receive you well! Amen. Emily Mack Marshall My sincere condolences to Raymond's family. My prayers and thoughts are with you. Though I have not spoken to or seen Raymond in years, I always had such warm memories of him - not withstanding his incredible talent and love of music. I will treasure those memories even more now and miss him that much more. May God grant Raymond's Family and Friends - Peace which passes all understanding. Ronny Drayton I have no words of sorrow or pain today, though I cry. My joy in knowing you, playing and touring with you, and your faith in me through all will carry me. Man, you had such a funny laugh and a keen mind . Thank you, Raymond. Only The Body Dies. Audrey Martell On this journey, you meet many, many talented people that influence your life. Raymond demanded that you bring nothing but honesty to the table as an artist. He was the truest definition of an artist: Never reaching for the approval of the masses but instead reaching deeper into his own soul and demanding nothing less of you. We spoke of performing some of our original songs we wrote together last fall, but life took over. Raymond, thank you, thank you for sharing precious moments of your life with me.

Photo from Ray’s trip to Brasil March 2010.

Nita Gray Raymond - what a beautiful spirit of a man! Thank you for allowing me to witness someone living his truth and speaking his truth. Raymond was such an accomplished musician and writer absent of ego. May your life be an example to all of us. Thinking of you now and always. Tony Bridges I call you funny, 'cause we shared many a laugh; I call you talented, 'cause you were a great musician; I call you humble because success never changed you; I call you friend because you were one of the few truly worthy...I now call you missed because you are and will be!!

Donnell Spencer Jr I'm sadden at the news of the passing of a friend who's patience and inspiration will forever be remembered. Raymond Jones... Thank you for taking the time to encourage me in many aspects of my life, I thought not possible. You always saw ahead of everyone else, a true visionary! Rest in peace.


Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

Les Williams You know, I probably haven't seen Raymond Jones in about 30 years. We grew up in the same neighborhood and Raymond attended school with my older brother, Richard Williams, and sister, Renita Williams. When I reached out to Raymond on Facebook, he immediately friended me and reminisced. Despite his artistic and professional success, Ray treated me as down to earth and real as anyone...and as if we had just seen each other 3 days not 30 years ago. He remained as feisty an artist and personality as ever. Skinny little Raymond Jones from around tha way was more of an icon and inspiration for little kids in South Jamaica and Queens who dreamed about playing in bands and finding musical success than he probably ever knew. Everyone who grew up around him basked in our pride of his success, and always acknowledged him as being one of the kindest and good natured kids to come from our neighborhood. Ray, you will be missed! Andrew Levette The three of us sitting in front of the console, Roy Ayers and Wayne Garfield behind us at the control board, Dee Dee Bridgewater behind the glass, kind of hoarse, but blowin', like only she can...like it was yesterday. The three of us...one of my fondest and most favorite memories. Carol Steele Oh, my God, Uncle Ramie...you will be so missed by me. It was always so much fun to play with you, and we did have a good time in the Jeffrey Osborne Band. I know in my heart that you will go straight to sit at the right hand of God with your beautiful, well-lit self... Ibae, baen tonu... I will always love you... Dk Dyson Light filled Journey to you, Dear Raymond, as you make your way to the Land of the Ancestors. Here, take my hugs & my voice in your heart. And, here, take some of that awesome music you have in your DNA. Oh, here, take this staff so you make a fine entrance. Oh yeah, here, take this white linen suit with hat and shoes to match, too. Here's some spending change so you & Willie The Lion Smith can tip the waitress's up there. Here's a bottle of the finest rum to offer the Great Ones you'll see. Save a laugh for me, blood...cause your's was...just...beautiful... Larry Robinson I am shocked and sad to hear of Raymond's passing. I can't think of a nicer person I've met in 30 years in the music biz. Short story: in my previous life, I was a marginal drummer. Around 1989, Raymond was producing Patti Labelle, asked me to come over and record "electronic drums" (not a drum machine, which would have been easier). Now, please understand, Raymond could have called ANYBODY for this session, but out of the pure kindness of his heart he called me - and kindly put up with my bad drumming!!! The CD came out months later and there was my name - he didn't even go back and erase me!! I will NEVER forget the kindness he showed. Even more touching than his enormous talent was his positivity, kindness and generosity. Raymond: I will miss you terribly.

Denise Jackson White Serrette I will miss Raymond. I had a lot of laughs with him as his assistant when he was the Musical Director on "The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show." The show didn't last long, but our friendship did. His laugh, his walk and OMG his rants! I respected his talent and his gift of music. I will play his tribute CD to Luther Vandross...and think of both of them.

Photo from Ray’s trip to Brasil March 2010.


Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

Raymond and I used to play with a hip hop rap legend whose initials

are

"DMX" and we were slated to perform. X gonna give it to ya on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and we are at NBC waiting for X to show up and in TV there are what they call tech runthroughs and these are so producers and network folk can both time the performance and for acts like DMX to make sure he's not going to curse his brains out! So after the first and second tech run-throughs go by with no DMX we find out that DMX is at his hotel kicking the limo that is there to pick him up. (Just being DMX...???) Needless to say the Tonight

Show

banned DMX for life but the other dilema was getting paid! And the Raymond that we all have come to love and respect and appreciate got on DMX's people and fought until he got us our money.

. Through all the ups and downs and all the craziness of this entertainment industry, Raymond was always our rock the one who got us through even the toughest times In this moment I find myself about to call Raymond to just talk about this difficult moment, and then I realize he has gone on ahead, but that's just like Raymond always ahead of everyone else, ahead of his time. He always had our hearts and even with the pain all I can seem to remember is how much I absolutely love him and the joy of knowing that I always told him just what he meant to me. Travel well Raymond talk with you later. Fred Clark aka Fred Clark-Kent -Guitarist in Raymond's live band -on almost all of Raymond's CD's -Member of The Ministers of Soul (the studio band that did the soundtrack to Soul Men) My favorite credit - Friend of Raymond Jones

Robert Aaron This is a tough one... We had only recently renewed our friendship after many years of not being in touch. There is a lot of history...we toured together in the early `80s in one of the last incarnations of Chic and kept on collaborating after the band drifted apart... Still, it had been a while `til we found each other again here (on facebook). Raymond was one of the first Macrobiotic Health nuts I ever knew and managed to keep that going on a tour bus full of hedonistic freaks.. I will always remember your kind gentle soul, subtle humour, and beautiful sweet music. Please accept my love and condolences. ONAJE ALLAN GUMBS Raymond and I were roomies when we did the Jeffrey Osborne-Deneice Williams tour in the eighties. He was a gentle soul, and an extraordinarily gifted keyboardist, composer and arranger. His piano work with Chic left an indelible impression on my own R&B/funk performances. Some of the best tunes written for Spike Lee's films came from him. He was the one who organized a tribute here in NY for "Dr. Ben" all the way from L.A. He wrote an incredible song for Lisa Fischer's So Intense album. I have loved that song for years. In a way, I guess it is now his epitaph. It's called "Last Goodbye." I love you, Raymond. This is a difficult one for me. You will be missed, my brother. R.I.P. Raymond. Kristi Lomax Meeting Raymond was certainly orchestrated by the divine. I first heard of Raymond as a kid growing up in Jamaica, Queens. One day it was just news in the hood that a member of Chic moved into the house down the street. Chic was one of my favorite groups at the time and I was excited to get a glimpse of this guy. I never got a good look at him, but on occasion I could see and hear Raymond playing piano through the sliding glass doors of his garage. Many years later while hosting my weekly music show on KPFK in L.A., I received a call from a listener complimenting me on my selections. When I asked his name, he said “Raymond Jones “. I was shocked and instantly taken back to my youth and responded “is this the Raymond Jones that used to live on Eveleth Rd., in Jamaica, Queens?”. He replied “the one and only”, and from that moment on we became friends. I will miss you Raymond and thank the creator that his plan for us worked out. Khaliq Glover Wow - Raymond, my friend, you will be missed. You gave me, a rookie engineer, so many opportunities to work on many great projects early in my career...and you always tried to help. I appreciate you much. Peaceful journey my brother. Tony Bridges I call you funny, 'cause we shared many a laugh; I call you talented 'cause you were a great muscian; I call you humble because success never changed you; I call you friend because you were one of the few truly worthy.....I now call you missed because you are and will be!!

Carol Steele Oh my God, Uncle Ramie.......you will be so missed by me. It was always so much fun always to play with you, and we did have a good time in the Jeffrey Osborne Band. I know in my heart that you go straight to sit at the right hand of God with your beautiful well lit self.........Ibae, baen tonu..... I will always love you... Rick Charles Nelson Wow, I can't believe it. Raymond was one of the best writers in the business. I Haven't seen him in awhile but we we stayed in touch. Earth Has no Sorrow, that Heaven cannot heal. God bless his family, I will be praying for them.


Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

Charlotte Morgan Eric James called this morning. He didn't know. We talked about Big Deal Records, Ray's first label. Ric did promotions and I did PR. Ray gave us each a gig. I still don't believe he's gone.... Mark Kornegay Just heard about Raymond's passing; i'm shocked because i didn't know. Glad i got to spend some time with him a couple of years ago in LA. He welcomed me and some friends to be guests at his house. We had a great time. Funny cat and i will remember him that way. Rest in Peace man!! Joan Saunders Thank you for your candor and words of wisdom. Will not be forgotten. Kerry Turman My brother Raymond...Sleep well. Never forgotten Carol Ross Send some music to our hearts Raymond. We love and miss you SO much!!!!!! Larry McRae Still in shock. Love you bro! Miss you already

Carl Orlando West Talented kat and Terrible loss

Donnell Spencer Jr I'm sadden at the news of the passing of a friend who's patience and inspiration will forever be remembered. Raymond Jones... Thank you for taking the time to encourage me in many aspects of my life, I thought not possible. You always saw ahead of everyone else, a true visionary! Rest in peace. Alfajiri McDonald Raymond I will miss you. So glad we were able to spend time together this Spring, share a great meal and laugh lots. Carla Jones Uncle Raymond....you will truly be missed! I love you, Carla Lisa Jones R.I.P Uncle Raymond....much love from your niece

“Never Explain Love” (Cathy Block / Raymond Jones) from “Do the Right Thing” soundtrack (1989) I was looking through a window At my life today And for the first time I saw things in a different way In the middle of my mind It was there all the time (chorus) Never explain Love

It’s not like anything you’ve ever done If it is there, it’s yours to keep And the boundaries they go deep Never explain Love Let the experience take over you And when you do… Never explain Love I was looking for a reason I was searching for a sign To try and understand This relationship of mine

But I didn’t need to go far I was reading it all wrong (chorus) Before I knew I almost blew it all Who needs to be rational When Love isn’t practical All I know is what’s inside And it’s all right (chorus)


“The Easy Way” (Raymond Jones) From Naked Soul (1999) When the evening comes Everything’s cool Chilled out with smoke and drink You’re feeling smooth When morning comes You get undone Morning light makes you think You’re feeling under the gun Life is passing and we’re getting older My old friend from another time We survived divorces, drugs - all that

Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

Yet I wonder how you’ll make it this time (chorus) What is on your mind Looking down the line Searching for any road out You want the easy way When I hear your game It’s pretty much the same You say, “I got your back” You ain’t carryin’ jack

As you leave, many doors are closing Some that you can’t go through anymore (chorus) We had dreams, we had hopes to make it How we wanted…what happened to yours Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing But at some point you have got to analyze

How do you plan to get ahead Asleep in your bed Everything you say is “coulda/woulda/shoulda …”

(Chorus)

When it’s time, time for a commitment You run out, right out of that door

What’s on your mind?

What is in your head When you go to bed Tryin’ to scam it all out You want the easy way


Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011

December 13, 1958 - July 1, 2011 “Wisdom” (Raymond Jones) From Hillside Stories

(2007) Met a Latina Not much older than me She smoked and cussed constant I wondered who she might be She had five kids By a no good man She finally left him After all she could stand She lives in an apartment With a run down floor Yet she has inner peace I’ve come to adore She took me to a ceremony Of the African kind They called on Orishas It opened my mind She said, “You have purpose beyond what you know. It’s just out of vision Just a stone’s throw.” I took her word for it And I went on my way Yet in the distance I hear myself saying to her, “How?”

(Chorus) How did we get here You sharing time with me You gave me your wisdom Beyond what I see Why did we meet In the market that day You gave me your wisdom That helps guide my way

an angel For a lesson I need to learn

My way

Sometimes I feel down And I don’t know where to turn Sometimes God sends an angel For a lesson I need to learn

I drove across country And I met a man In the back woods of Georgia At a roadside stand We ate at a diner As he told me my life My hopes and disappointments He was so right I sat in amazement As I paid for his meal A small price to pay For the knowledge revealed Still not quite certain Why we were destined to meet I’m just glad it happened It put me back on my feet Sometimes I feel down And I don’t know where to turn Sometimes God sends

As I accept What it is I need to know Again I am asking As new doors open and show me I say How? (chorus)

As I accept What it is I need to know Again I am asking As new doors open and show me I say (chorus) Your knowledge and your wisdom You gave me wisdom Wise beyond your years Wise beyond your years You helped guide my way

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