Henry Gray, legendary blues musician, dies at 95

Updated: Feb. 18, 2020 at 9:34 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Henry Gray, a beloved Baton Rouge blues singer and pianist has passed away, according to his family and friends. He was 95.

Henry Gray died around 9 p.m. on Feb. 17. A post from his great-grandson, DeAndre Tate, made the announcement around midnight.

“It is with great sadness that I formally announce that my Great Grandfather Henry Gray has transitioned. My family and I appreciate every prayer, every donation, every smile, and every word of encouragement that you have given throughout his more than 70 year career. I will post the funeral arrangements as soon as we make them. Thank you all,” the post reads.

Tate, who also plays the piano, says his grandfather taught him about music at a young age.

“When I would see him perform live and I would just see how his music will just bring so many different people together all to just enjoy one thing that everybody loves, that just kind of inspired me to want to do it,” said Tate.

Gray’s impact in the music community could be immediately felt as tributes began pouring in from the Blues Foundation / Blues Hall of Fame and other legendary musicians like Louisiana Music Hall of Famer and Grammy-nominee Kenny Neal and popular Louisiana act The Chris LeBlanc Bland.

“The last of the old school boogie woogie players Mr. Henry gray rest in peace,” Neal said.

“He’s definitely one of the people who are responsible for Baton Rouge being as well known as it is internationally for the blues,” said Michael Foster of the Michael Foster Project.

“We mourn the loss & celebrate the life of Blues Hall of Fame pianist & beloved Baton Rouge bluesman, Henry Gray, who passed away at 95. Best known for playing with Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Junior Wells, his piano helped create that Chicago Blues sound & 80 years of music,” a tweet from the Blues Hall of Fame reads.

Gray was born in Kenner in 1925 and grew up in Alsen, according to The Advocate. A musician for more than 80 years, Gray performed throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. His festival performances included 39 appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as well as engagements at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the prominent King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas, and the Chicago and Baton Rouge blues festivals.

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