“Killer” Ray Allison, who played drums for a number of years with Buddy Guy before starting his own band on guitar, died on Wednesday night in his sleep at the age of 60. According to Buddy Guy’s page:
RIP to “Killer” Ray Allison, an incredible drummer who played with Buddy for years. He passed away unexpectedly in his sleep last night, and the world of the blues just got a little smaller.
Allison broke into the Chicago music scene in the early 70’s, playing drums for Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells and Guy. His drumming was so legendary that he was nominated for the W.C. Handy Award (now the
Blues Music Award) for the instrument in 1998 and 2000.
On the side, Allison recorded with artists like the Rolling Stones, Paul Butterfield and Joe Cocker. He was also extensively involved with The Chicago School of Blues, a touring educational exhibition to teach students the history of the genre. He also took up the guitar when he decided he needed to branch out musically.
In 2007, Allison and surgeon Daniel Ivankovich, who once was music director for Otis Rush, started the Chicago Blues All-Stars, a group of some of the best musicians in the city who tried to create an updated blues sound that would draw a younger audience to the music. The group released their first album, Red, Hot & Blue in 2013.
Allison was recognized in 2010 as a “Great Master Blues Artist” by the Blues Hall of Fame.
Ivankovich has started a GoFundMe page for Allison’s family to help them to defray costs.