Ray Avery, 82, a jazz photographer, collector and retailer whose work brought him into close contact with such artists as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, died of a heart attack Nov. 17 at UCLA Medical Center.
Avery began collecting jazz recordings as a student at Big Bear Lake High School. He opened his first jazz record store, the Record Roundup, on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1936. He relocated a few times, eventually opening Rare Records and New in Glendale.
His stock included rare or obscure selections by Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Holiday, Bing Crosby and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, one of the first bands to make jazz recordings, about 1920. He closed the store in 1992.
His photographs documented the birth of West Coast jazz in the 1950s and the artists who defined the period. His early work appeared on album covers for musicians such as Shelly Manne and Clifford Brown.