picture of Jay Spell
Jay Spell
Jay (* 1945 in Spivey Corner, NC) was a blind pianist/keyboardist. He attended a school for the blind from the time he was 6 years old and had to remain in the dorm as he was too far away from home to commute. At the time one of his fellow students was his friend Ronnie Milsap and together they formed a band. He studied violin and piano there and later went on to attend the Oberlin Conservatory to concentrate on the piano. He didn’t stay there too long as he decided that he wanted to veer towards rock and roll and so returned home to North Carolina.
Becoming known, he soon was making it out in the world of music and has toured and recorded with many artists that include Judy Collins, Steve Cropper, José Feliciano, Eddie Floyd, Vern Gosdin, Tim Krekel, John Mayall, Poco, Jeannie C, Riley, Dan Seals, The Tams, Greg "Fingers" Taylor, Randy Travis, Conway Twitty and Tammy Wynette to name a few, as well as being a member of the group Tower of Power.
The countless albums he appeared on include Son of a Son of a Sailor by Jimmy Buffett, Christmas Album by Canned Heat, Cowgirl’s Prayer by Emmylou Harris. His time with Jimmy Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band saw him touring with him during 1977 and 1978 and also making an appearance in the 1978 movie FM.
Jay passed away from cancer in December 2010.
from Jimmy Buffett recordings


Bump City
Warner Bros. Records K 46167
released 1972
recorded in Memphis, TN/USA
Greg Adams, conductor, trumpet, flugelhorn, French horn, piano, vocals
Emilio Castillo, tenor sax, vocals
Skip Mesquite, tenor sax, flute, vocals
Stephen "Doc" Kupka, baritone sax, vocals
Lenny Pickett, sax
Mic Gillette, trombone, trumpet, French horn, vocals
Willie Fulton, guitar, vocals
Jay Spell, organ, piano
The Memphis Strings
Francis "Rocco" Prestia, bass
David Garibaldi, drums
Brent Byars, congas, vocals
Rick Stevens, vocals

Sound Samples
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