Jerry Gray was a child prodigy he learnt and could play the violin by the age of seven. He joined the Artie Shaw Band at the age of 21, in 1936, as part of the violin section although he originally thought he was joining the band to play jazz accordion, an instrument at which he was also proficient. When Artie dropped the string section Jerry left the band but was to return as arranger and it could be said that it was Jerry’s powerful arrangement of Begin The Beguine, which was a big hit for the band, changed everything for the Shaw Orchestra. In 1939 when Shaw fell ill it was Jerry who was to lead the band until Artie recovered.
After the demise of the short lived Artie Shaw Orchestra, Jerry moved on to the Glenn Miller Orchestra and it is there that he perhaps achieved his most significant work.
Jerry Gray’s output for the Miller band was fantastic. He wrote some great originals like Caribbean Clipper, Sun Valley Jump and The Spirit Is Willing not forgetting, of course, String Of Pearls.