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Ray Conniff

Conniff was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and learned to play the trombone from his father. He studied music arranging from a course book.

Early career

After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II (where he worked under Walter Schumann), he joined the Artie Shaw big band and wrote many arrangements for him. After his stint with Shaw, he was then hired by Mitch Miller, then head of A&R at Columbia Records, as their home arranger, working with several artists including Rosemary Clooney, Marty Robbins, Frankie Laine, Johnny Mathis, Guy Mitchell and Johnnie Ray. He wrote a top 10 arrangement for Don Cherry's “Band of Gold” in 1955, a single that sold more than a million copies. Among the hit singles he backed with his orchestra (and eventually with a male chorus) were “Yes Tonight Josephine” and “Just Walkin' in the Rain” by Johnnie Ray; “Chances Are” and “It's Not for Me to Say” by Johnny Mathis; “A White Sport Coat” and “The Hanging Tree” by Marty Robbins; “Moonlight Gambler” by Frankie Laine; “Up Above My Head,” a duet by Frankie Laine and Johnnie Ray; and “Pet Me, Poppa” by Rosemary Clooney. He also backed up the albums Tony by Tony Bennett, Blue Swing by Eileen Rodgers, Swingin' for Two by Don Cherry, and half the tracks of The Big Beat by Johnnie Ray.

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Discography

 

Musicals In Rhythm -...

Abracadabra Music
2010

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Ray Conniff Plays The...

Abracadabra Music
2008

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Love Songs

Abracadabra Music
2003

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Great Contemporary...

Abracadabra Music
2002

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Broadway In Rhythm /...

Abracadabra Music
2000

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I Love Movies

Abracadabra Music
1998

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