Homebase: Seattle, WA
Stats: b. Seattle 1913 - d. Seattle 2010
Although the name may not jump out at you, many Northwest recordings feature guitarist Al Turay.. Arnold G. "Al" Turay "was born and raised in Seattle of Scandinavian descent.
Turay had a long musical career playing in various jazz groups, bands and stage plays from the 30's until his retirement in 1995. While staying consistently busy as a studio musician and guitar teacher, he also played live with The Question Marks, The Elmer Gill Trio, The Gene Boscacci Trio and the Corky Corcoran Quintet. Some of his musical friends included: Herb Ellis, Buddy Fite, Barney Kessel, Bruce Lofgren, Henry Mancini, Wes Montgomery, and Joe Pass. He was noted as one of the best guitar teachers in the NW. Self-described as a 'Big Swede,' he was one of the Pacific Northwest's founding fathers of Jazz.
Al's Seattle based career spanned from the 1930's until his retirement in 1995. He had his own music studio (Wallingford district of Seattle) and taught guitar/music theory to many well known NW artists including Bonnie Guitar, Nancy Wilson (of Heart), George Seccombe, Gary Lee Rollins, Bill Mooney, Kip McAtee, Michael Cosgrove, Larry Messer and Bruce Lofgren.
Turay was notorious for playing with black musicians in Seattle despite the union rules of separation. He helped to enable the merger of the segregated musician unions by ignoring color boundaries and performing with whomever he was led. He loved to jam at after-hours sessions in Jackson Street clubs. His placement of the music above all else eventually came to a notable head in August of 1956 while a member of The Elmer Gill Trio. Then, a hotel chain's board of directors in Los Angeles agreed to allow the local hotel manager in Seattle's New Washington Hotel sign a gig contract allowing the racially integrated group to play in their onsite lounge The Brigadier Room which had previously been exclusively an American Federation of Musicians Local 76 (white union) location. This is well noted as a turning point. About a year and a half later, in January 1958, the two unions merged into one retaining both union numbers rather than creating a new one: The Musicians' Association of Seattle, Local 76-493" [https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/187073354].
1.) TIDEMAN'S SCANDINAVIAN TRIO
2.) CORCORAN, CORKY