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Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame All-Stars

The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame (AJHoF) All-Stars is a working jazz ensemble, featuring some of the finest jazz musicians Alabama has to offer. This group is the faculty of the Jazz Education Department of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame ( and the faculty of the “Fun With Jazz” Educational Program, originated at the Alys Stephens Center, and now offered through the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. The personnel of the group is listed as follows:

RAY REACH - Director and organizer of the AJHoF All-Stars and Director of Student Jazz Programs for the Hall of Fame. Ray has had a 44+ year musical career as painist, vocalist, guitarist, arranger, composer and producer. From 1998 to 2005, he was Director of Jazz Ensembles at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he taught Jazz and Music Technology courses. His production clients include saxophonist Lou Marini, Jr., trumpeter Lew Soloff, classical choral composer K. Lee Scott,, jazz guitarist Eric Essix, CHristian Jazz vocalist Amy Drinkwater, and many others. In addition, he originated the program “Fun With Jazz” for the Alys Stephens Center, which takes free jazz music classes into elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges in the Birmingham, Alabama metro area.

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 is 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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