Ray Pitts, who turned 80 earlier this year, died Friday morning, 2nd November, in Denmark.
He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1932 but went to Denmark in 1962. He married the singer Grethe Kemp and settled in the country for the rest of his life.
Pitts became a major figure in a musical environment that flourished and a member of the big band of the Danish Radio that was established a couple of years after his arrival. In the following decades Pitts wrote many pieces for the orchestra.
Besides being a saxophonist in the band, Pitts could also be heard in the jazz club Café Montmartre with Underground Railroad and with the George Russell sextet.
Ray Pitts’s main instrument was the tenor saxophone, but he also played flute and soprano saxophone.
He was to receive the Leo Mathisen prize tonight for his lifelong efforts. The arrangement will be held but instead as a memorial for Ray Pitts.