Jersey Boys guitarist, Jeff Ray, killed in train accident in Auburn

Reporter staff

A 42-year-old man from Las Vegas, Nev., was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in the 900 block of C Street Southwest in Auburn last Saturday afternoon, Auburn police reported.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the victim was Jeff Ray, a guitarist for the Jersey Boys Band.

A female friend was taking pictures of Ray, then sitting on the rails of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks, using Mount Rainier as a backdrop, when an Amtrak Cascades train approached from the south. Ray couldn’t get off the tracks in time before the train, traveling at 79 mph, struck him around 3:40 p.m., police reported.

Ray and his friend had gotten onto the tracks through an open crossing on C Street Southwest, police said.

One-hundred-and-three passengers were on the train at the time. Nobody else was hurt.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Ray was in the area to play with the Top 40 cover band, The Jones, at the Muckleshoot Casino.

Jersey Boys music director Keith Thompson told the Las Vegas Sun that Ray was a gifted jazz guitarist capable of playing any genre. He was a well-respected guitarist and member of the Las Vegas entertainment community.

In addition to playing second guitar with the Jersey Boys band, Ray would occasionally pick up the sticks as the band’s drummer.

Originally from Ohio, Ray moved to Las Vegas and was active on the jazz scene, playing in backing bands for artists such as Boyz II Men and Skye Dee Miles, as well as with blockbuster musicals like “Disney’s The Lion King”, “Vegas! The Show”, “Sinatra”, “Dance With Me” and “Mamma Mia!”

He played with the jazz quintet, The Onus, with which he recorded a trio of CDs, and jammed with Santa Fe & The Fat City.

Ray also found time to teach jazz guitar studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


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