Raymond Ross was born in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan on February 10, 1925. His father was a master electrician from Eastern Europe. His mother, also from Eastern Europe, was well educated and family oriented. Raymond was very close to his mother. Unfortunately she passed away at very young age leaving Raymond with only his older brother and his father. To fill the gap and relieve the sadness that he felt of her absence he began taking photos, creating a magical world of imagery where only he could enter.
After a brief stint as a commercial photographer, his interest in the jazz scene blossomed around the early fifties. After deciding to move to the lower Eastside in the late fifties, Raymond Ross began to immerse himself in the profuse Manhattan music scene. He photographed all of the jazz icons from 1950 up through 1990 taking thousands of photographs of rehearsals, recording sessions, concerts, and club dates. His photo presence at some of the historic avant-garde New York clubs such as Slug's and The Five Spot are well documented.
Raymond Ross developed a warm expressive style, capturing rarely seen intimate moments on the jazz scene. Among the numerous jazz icons he photographed in the 1950's include Mahalia Jackson, Art Blakey, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Miles Davis, and Duke Ellington.
Following the post bop scene during the 1960's and 1970's, his photographic documentation continued following the careers of Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Mingus, and expanding to the 'Loft Scene' of the early 1980's with Sam Rivers, Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and many more.
Raymond Ross's jazz photographs are featured on numerous album covers, including Flying Dutchman, Impulse, ESP-Disk, and Verve record labels. Ross also photographed many of the original recording sessions for these labels . His photos have also appeared in down beat, Swing Journal (Japan), Jazz Times, and many CD reissues, most notably the Albert Ayler "Holy Ghost" box set in 2004. He also became a prolific videographer and documented New York's 'Vision Festival', for many years.
Raymond Ross's historic black & white photograph archives also extends well beyond jazz into classic color images of rock, pop and R&B artists. His archives contain an extensive catalog of images from the legendary Fillmore East venue.