Born in Pittsburgh, PA (February 7, 1924), Ray Crawford played tenor and clarinet with Fletcher Henderson during 1941-1943 but tuberculosis forced him to give them up. He switched to guitar and was an important part of Ahmad Jamal's early groups (1949-1955); his ability to make his guitar sound like bongos by hitting it was soon adopted by Herb Ellis. Crawford also recorded with Gil Evans (1959-1960), played off and on with Jimmy Smith from 1958 into the 1980s, and in the '60s settled in Los Angeles.
Crawford led fairly obscure records for Candid (1961, but not released until the '80s), Dobre (1977), and United National (1978).
He passed away in his hometown in Pittsburgh, on December 30, 1997
—Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)