June 6, 1956 – January 6, 1966
The mating of Glenn Miller’s magnificent music with Ray McKinley’s very special talents began long before he lead the band. It started as sort of a mutual admiration and culminated many years later in Ray’s taking over Glenn’s wonderful AAF dance band when Major Miller was lost in action during World War II.
Ray McKinley first met Miller when they played together from time to time in the old Ben Pollack band and then worked together in the Miller Army Air Forces band up to the time of Glenn’s disappearance over the English Channel in 1944.
There were several attempts in the past to recreate the Miller style with bands led by Tex Beneke, Ralph Flanagan, Ray Anthony and Jerry Gray. But the elusive quality that made Miller’s name a sweet and swing byword in the late ’30s and early ’40s never was entirely captured. Ray was one of the most sought-after drummers and most respected band leaders in the history of the business.