Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Music: Jay Traynor, RIP

by George Molé

Just about a month ago, on Saturday, December 7, I attended quite a colorful doo-wop concert at St. Athanasius Church, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. In the house was what you might call the old Brooklyn--a lot of white-haired guys sporting their black leather Fonzie jackets, and yellow-haired ladies rocking their leopard-prints and furs. And a nice enough crowd to make you wish the old Brooklyn wasn't being replaced so rapidly by the new.

After the show, I got to take a photo with a highly respected singer--Jay Traynor, who, back in the days of early rock, replaced Paul Simon as lead vocalist of the Mystics, and then went on to be the original "Jay" of Jay and the Americans. That photo is below (and, no, it's not blurry, it's soft-focus, like an Impressionist painting). And Traynor's voice can best be heard in this 1962 hit by Jay and the Americans, "She Cried."

Traynor performed at the December show as a member of Jay Siegel's Tokens (yes, another Jay), with whom he had been touring, and who were among the best of all the great groups to grace that school auditorium that evening. The original Tokens, with Siegel as the lead singer (but long before Traynor was on board), were best known for their 1961 hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." They did that song that night, and Siegel got all the notes, with the able assistance of Traynor and the rest of the group.

Now it's been announced that Traynor has passed away, on January 2, having succumbed to the liver cancer he had been battling. This is not an original observation--but, man, life is short and fragile. RIP, Jay Traynor, and thanks for the fine music.

Photo: Less than four weeks ago, I was lucky enough to take a photo with this respected musician, Jay Traynor, the original "Jay" of the early rock group Jay and the Americans. He was currently touring with The Tokens, best known for the old hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." This photo was taken after their December 7th appearance at a doo-wop show in Brooklyn.

Now it's been announced that Mr. Traynor has passed away, having battled liver cancer. This is not an original observation--but, man, life is short and fragile. RIP, Jay Traynor, and thanks for the great music.
Singer Jay Traynor (right) with yours truly at the December show in Brooklyn.

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