By Luna Wright (patreon.com/warpspeedluna)

What was it like being raised by a master musician? If you ask Dave Wright, son of Emmy-Award nominated composer and musician Rayburn Wright, it meant that living in the world of music was as natural as breathing.

As a child, he had the run of Radio City Music Hall, where his father worked as musical director, a young boy weaving in and out of backstage control rooms and front-row seats as the performers set the stage for ever-changing variety shows. On nights off, he was whisked away to ballet performances, or rock concerts with trippy oil-water lightshows that were enough to give an impressionable young mind nightmares. At home, his father was always at the piano writing music, or at the record player, listening to everything from the Beatles to Stravinsky in order to better understand the inner workings of a song. That didn’t mean that other, less creative hobbies were off the table. “He liked baseball,” Dave remembers fondly, “so we played catch, or badminton or ping pong. But music was always the center of it all.”

Musician Rayburn Wright and son Dave Wright in photo from original jazz blog

David and Ray laughing over a good move on Labyrintspel, 1965.

Musician Rayburn Wright at Radio City Music Hall in photo from original jazz blog

Ray conducting the Radio City Music Hall orchestra, 1966.

Musician Rayburn Wright, Doris B Wright and son Dave Wright in photo from original jazz blog

Ray, Dave and Doris taking a break from a bike ride, 1980.

It didn’t take long for Ray and his wife, artist Doris B. Wright, to put Dave in music lessons, already working through recorder, classical guitar and piano by the age of 10. However, it wasn’t until middle school that Dave found a foothold in jazz, his father’s preferred genre, a style of music he was so expert in that he founded the Jazz and Contemporary Media program at Eastman School of Music when Dave was 11.

“Jazz is a big word,” Dave says when describing the genre, his voice colored by an immediately apparent enthusiasm. “It’s a big tent, with a lot of different corners. In my new album ‘There and Gone’ there’s jazz, rock, funk, world music — in the context of my music, I consider them all to be different corners of the jazz tent, but it’s an eclectic mix for sure.” Ray was equally entranced by the different corners of the tent, although his focus was even wider — while he specialized in jazz, he embraced music as a whole. His son applied that openness within his preferred genre, and displays that mindset with aplomb in the album ‘There and Gone.’

Perhaps even more interesting than the similarities between father and son are the differences. Ray wrote for an audience, for a reach as wide as it could possibly be. Although classically trained with deep interest in jazz, he studied popular music, and wrote for the people who listened to it, even if not within the pop genre. For Ray, music was both an art and a business — he had that business mastered and wrote at the highest level. For his son, music is personal. Dave writes music that he wants to hear, for an audience with a similar love for eclectic jazz.

Musician Rayburn Wright, Doris B Wright and son Dave Wright in photo from original jazz blog

Doris, Ray and Dave on the SS Norway, 1984.

Musician Rayburn Wright at Eastman School of Music in photo from original jazz blog

Ray working at Eastman School of Music, 1980s.

Musician Rayburn Wright, Doris B Wright, Pamela Spaulding and Dave Wright in photo from original jazz blog

Ray, Doris, Pam (Dave's wife-to-be) and Dave at Ray's house, 1985.

So, what was it like being raised by a master musician? It was like music was woven into the fabric of his existence, from those early childhood years right up until today. It meant, in the Wright household, that writing a song or creating art was as normal as playing in the sandbox or running in the woods.

“Whenever I’m not thinking about anything, I’m thinking music,” Dave says with a faint humor. “My wife is more talkative, and I’m quiet. Early in our marriage, she might get uncomfortable if things were quiet for too long. But I told her – when I’m quiet, I’m thinking music.” All he has to do is pick up a guitar and those inner thoughts come to life for all to hear.

You can read more about Ray’s life and career here.




Luna Wright is the granddaughter of Rayburn Wright and daughter of Dave Wright, and is proud to be continuing the tradition of creativity within the Wright clan. To follow Luna’s ongoing writing projects, including her first book “The Blackest Blue”, published July 1, 2022, visit patreon.com/warpspeedluna. Luna’s dystopian fiction novel “The Blackest Blue” is available for purchase in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions here.