Ray Goren, 11-year-old jazz guitarist, awes the audience during his performance with Deacon Jones Blues. Photos by J.P. Crumrine

Deacon Jones directs the crowd while playing the blues on an organ.
Early Sunday morning, a father entered the Jazz in the Pines Green Room with his son. This accommodation is provided to performers and their guests, providing a private rest room, refreshments, water and a place to store instruments or garments while performers are on stage.

After having water and fruit, a discussion about the effects of altitude on coastal residents began between Nancy Layton, hostess of the Green Room, and the man and boy. Eventually, Layton asked the adult with which group he played and what was his instrument.

“The Deacon Jones Blues,” he replied. But then corrected Layton, “He’s the guitarist, I’m his father,” while proudly putting his arm around the boy.

Ray Goren, 11-years-old, is one of Deacon Jones’ two guitarists. Ray has been part of the group for a year and a half.

Before playing his first piece for Jones, he was a jazz pianist. But watching a YouTube video of B.B. King convinced the young prodigy to switch instruments. He said it took several months to convince his parents for permission. Neither are musicians, according to dad, David Goren. Roy’s been a guitarist for about two and half years now.

“A friend of mine asked if a young boy could play one song with us,” Jones said. Although he hesitated, he remembered that even he (with more than 50 years as a professional musician) started somewhere.

“I expected ‘Strum, strum and done,’” Jones admitted. “But it was ‘Bam, bam, and bam’.” Ray is now a regular with Jones, who says some guitarists are slightly jealous of his youthful member.

But Sunday, once he appeared on stage, Ray had the crowd fixated and definitely was neither shy nor timid about playing in front of hundreds of experienced jazz fans.