BIOGRAPHY

"Ray Blue has a majestic presence…when playing, his sense of purpose is obvious. It's one thing to be a good composer, it's another to be a great performer. Ray Blue's got the whole package."

Jean Szlamowicz, Jazz Hot, Down Beat

"There is nothing quite like the comforting warmth of the tenor saxophone front and center... Ray Blue's fluid, lyrical style is technically solid... The exquisite, evocative melodies are delivered with convincing feeling and emotion.

Joe Ross, Roots Music Report

"He has a big sound and the improvisatory presence, unfurling broad-shouldered solos... a vigorous player who knows how to hold a crowd."

Peter Vacher, London Jazz Review

Ray Blue is a soulful and tender saxophonist, composer and music educator. He is part of the New York scene and tours internationally. He has a big warm sound that captures you and holds you tight. He has 7 releases with his most recent projects on Jazzheads. His latest release Work remained on the Jazz Week Chart for more than two months, peaking at #7, and his holiday single, soon to be a classic, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas topped off at #2. Ray is earning considerable attention in the U.S. and Europe with his stellar band and his heartfelt soloing. A new recording featuring Kenny Barron on piano is scheduled to be released this fall 2021. 

Ray was born in 1950 in Portsmouth, Virginia and raised in Peekskill, New York.  He was drawn to the music of Miles Davis and others but specifically to the tenor saxophone sounds of Stanley Turrentine, Gene Ammons, Ben Webster, John Coltrane, Jr. Walker and King Curtis. As a teenager he played in the school jazz band and an R&B/soul band where he learned a deep appreciation for the blues form. Ray earned a Bachelor’s degree from William Penn University and a Masters from the University of Iowa in Clinical Social Work, where he developed a deep interest in society and social psychology.

Ray joined the New York jazz scene. He has built many meaningful relationships over the years. He studied at the Jazz Mobile and mentored with several jazz luminaries where he contributed as a leader, sideman and band member with some of the most notable names in jazz: Charles Davis, Paul Jeffries, Houston Person, Barry Harris, Ornette Coleman, Benny Golson, George Coleman, Kenny Barron, Kirk Lightsey, John Gilmore, Dr. Art Davis, John Patton, Benny Powell, Eddie Henderson, Charlie Persip, Wycliff Gordon, Bernard Purdie, Ted Curson, Joe Lee Wilson, The Sun Ra Arkestra, Cotton Club All Stars and many others.

Balancing his performances, composing, arranging and teaching, Ray was an adjunct professor at CUNY, Borough of Manhattan Community College and Mercy College from 1990 to 1996. In 2000, Ray moved to Europe, fulfilling his youthful ambition living in Germany until 2012. While there he performed and toured as a leader, sideman and featured artist at festivals, concerts and clubs in Europe, Africa and Asia. He was a cast member of the Ray Charles Show touring company in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy 2008 to 2010.  

 

Ray recorded and released his first CD as a leader, Always With A Purpose in 2001. Further releases include; Live at Liars Theater I and Live at Liars Theater 2, Transvision, Berries and Blues and Work in 2018. 

 

In 2005, he founded Cross-Cultural Connection, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes jazz culture, performance, education and hosts an annual jazz festival. Ray consults and presents and conducts workshops, master classes at schools, colleges, universities and community institutions worldwide. 

 

 

 

Photo by J.Brooks