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Obituary: Wray Downes - The Grand Man of the Piano

Wray Downes was a gifted pianist, an Oscar Peterson protégé blessed with perfect pitch and impeccable timing and a be-bop man who possessed one of the most expressive right hands in all of jazz. Mr. Peterson – and many others in the field – recognized Mr. Downes as a formidable talent.In 1980, Mr. Peterson told author and former Globe and Mail jazz critic Mark Miller of his deep respect, in competitive terms, for his shy, unassuming former student. “Wray’s the kind of guy – you look up and all of a sudden, you’re bleeding. If you go up onstage in a group, and he’s in the other group, quietly he’ll take his lumps out on you.”When Mr. Downes died on March 19, at 89 from lung cancer, ...
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