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Ramey, Gene (Eugene Glasco) (April 4, 1913-December 8, 1984)



  • Existence: April 4, 1913 - December 8, 1984


Eugene (Gene) Glasco Ramey (1913-1984), the seventh child of Curry and Sarah Annie (Glasco) Ramey, was born April 4, 1913, in Austin, Texas. He inherited his musical talent from various family members: his grandfather Jack was an old-style violinist, his father played banjo, his mother played organ, and his brother Joseph was a member of the Capitol City Quartet. Ramey's first instrument was a set of temple blocks which he played at the age of eight. He learned the ukulele two years later. In his Anderson High School years, he played trumpet and baritone horn, performing with Sammy's LaPalm Orchestra in Austin for nearly three years.

On August 18, 1932, Ramey moved to Kansas City in order to attend Western University and study electrical engineering. During these years, he began playing the double bass and took lessons informally from Walter Page. He attended jam sessions of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands during his leisure time. He graduated from college in 1935. In 1938, Ramey became the bassist of the Jay McShann Band and started his life-long professional relationship with McShann. When McShann joined the army in 1943, Ramey left for New York where he freelanced with many important musicians including Eddie Davis, Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Lester Young and Charlie Parker (to whom he was a teacher and close friend). For a while, he worked full-time at the Chase Manhattan Bank as a safe deposit box attendant.

Ramey frequently toured America and Europe. Although he never issued a solo record, his performances can be found in numerous recordings that featured him as sideman. His solid bass line won acclaim from many bandleaders and soloists. His success was honored especially in his hometown of Austin (where he returned in 1976). June 19, 1983 was designated ""Gene Ramey Day"" in Austin, and in 1984 he was appointed Admiral in the Texas Navy because of his contributions to jazz and his education of the younger generations.

Ramey died December 8, 1984.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Eugene G. Ramey, Sr. Collection

Identifier: MS-0096
Scope and Contents The Eugene G. Ramey, Sr. Collection was gifted to the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1991 by his son Eugene G. Ramey, Jr. The manuscript collection is housed in the Dr. Kenneth J. LaBudde Department of Special Collections and contains material related to the life and career of Ramey: correspondence, performance contracts, royalty statements, programs, membership and business cards, news clippings and articles(including by Ramey), address and appointment...
Dates: 1913 - 1989