b. 3 July 1915, East Boston, Massachusetts, USA, d. 10 August 1976, Dallas, Texas, USA. As a child Gray first studied violin and later composing and arranging. At the age of 12 he played in the Boston Junior Symphony Orchestra. In the mid-30s he was hired by Artie Shaw, for whom he wrote several charts, including ‘Any Old Time’, which featured Billie Holiday, ‘What Is This Thing Called Love?’ and ‘Begin The Beguine’, one of Shaw’s most popular recordings. In 1939 he left Shaw for the Glenn Miller band, where he was responsible for writing and arranging several major successes, including ‘String Of Pearls’ and ‘Pennsylvania 6-5000’. Gray remained with Miller throughout World War II, continuing to run the band after Miller’s death.
In the late 40s and early 50s Gray worked in Hollywood, freelancing in the studios, where one of the films on which he worked was The Glenn Miller Story (1954). He also led his own band on radio and had a successful record with ‘Sound Off’. In the early 60s he turned to full-time studio work and continued to form bands for special engagements. He wrote the arrangement for Vic Damone’s hit, ‘I Have But One Heart’. Gray’s career continued in much the same fashion in the 70s, following his relocation to Dallas, Texas. Despite his early work with Shaw, once Gray began his association with Miller he settled into the style of writing associated with that band and rarely varied the formula thereafter.