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Remembering Giants

April 6, 2020

We are saddened to announce that long time Museum volunteer, president of the Duke Ellington Society, and keeper of the jazz flame, Ray Carmen, has passed on.

Ray Carman and The National Jazz Museum in Harlem were a perfect fit. Born and raised in the neighborhood, a diehard lover of the music from an early age, Ray never lost his passion for the music and the people who made it. Throughout the years of his professional life as a senior administrator at a major New York City hospital, and as president of the Duke Ellington society, he was a familiar presence anywhere swinging jazz was happening. As soon as retirement hit, Ray and his wife Marlene became full-time volunteers at the Museum. Whether it was greeting visitors as they entered, being there for the labor intensive set up and breakdown of events or imbuing everything with their great love for the Museum’s mission, the Two Carmans (as they became known) became vital and beloved members of our family. We deeply mourn the loss of Ray.

With Marlene’s blessing, the Museum is proud to announce the Annual Ray Carman-Duke Ellington lecture series to be inaugurated in 2021.



In our world of jazz, there have been many losses in the past year, and to commemorate those loved ones, we offer this memorial site noting the passing of great musicians whose legacies will continue to swing as long as there’s music.

Alex Layne
Andy Gonzales
Bucky Pizzarelli
Eddy Davis
Ellis Marsalis
Freddie Rodriguez
Giuseppi Logan
Henry Grimes
Jimmy Heath
Lee Konitz
Manu Dibango
Marcelo Peralta
Mike Longo
Wallace Roney

Ave atque vale, dear friends