"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."
Jazz Hot, Down Beat
"Ray Blue is a busy presence in New York who works and tours regularly in and around Europe, performing and giving workshops. I heard Blue a couple of years ago in New York and knew right away that he was the real deal. He has the big sound and the improvisatory presence of someone who knows his way around the mainstream vernacular, unfurling long, broad-shouldered solos on standards and originals... that may make you think of Houston Person or early Sonny Rollins, vigorous players who know how to hold a crowd. He's a burly figure, avuncular in style, Blue's playing is redolent of the man... imperious or relaxed, he's a front-rank player who should be more widely heard."
May 2, 2018
Ray Blue’s music can be described as a fusion of straight ahead jazz and rhythmic groove. Ray is a New York bred saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator who performs internationally.
Over the years he has shared the stage and studio as a leader, a sideman and a band member with John Gilmore, Dr. Art Davis, Benny Powell, Eddie Henderson, Kirk Lightsey, Charlie Persip Super Band, Clifford Adams, Wycliff Gordon, Bernard Purdie, Steve Turre, Ted Curson, Joe Lee Wilson, Alicia Keys, The Sun Ra Arkestra, Cotton Club All Stars and many others.
He was also a cast member of the “Ray Charles Show” which toured in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy 2008 to 2010.
His festival performances as leader and featured artist include: Hartford Jazz Festival, Hartford, Connecticut; Zanzibar International Film Festival, Zanzibar, Tanzania; North Sea Jazz Festival-Cape Town, South Africa; Macufe Festival- Bloemfontain, South Africa; European Union Annex Festival-Dublin, Ireland; Audi Jazz Festival, Brussels, Belgium; Macao Jazz Festival, China; Midi Music Festival-Beijing, China; Pori Jazz Festival, Finland and others.
After receiving a graduate degree from the University of Iowa, Ray returned to New York, got re-connected on the scene and studied at the Jazz Mobile with Charles Davis, Stanton Davis and later with Paul Jeffrey, Charlie Lagond, Sonny Sharrock and Barry Harris. Some of his mentors include Arthur Blythe, Houston Person, Ornette Coleman and Benny Powell.
Ray Blue is also a graduate of Wm. Penn University, which annually presents “The Ray Blue Jazz Award” since 2004 to a graduating senior. In addition, Wm. Penn University hosted its inaugural “Jazz Education Festival” in 2007 for High School and College musicians in Ray Blue’s name. They also
presented Ray the “Distinguished Career Award“ in 2010. Ray is a 2013 “New York Blues Hall of Fame” inductee - Master Blues and Jazz Artist. His awards include: 2015 Iowa Juneteenth “Jazz Legacy Award”, 2016 “Arts Education Award”, 2017 “Living Legacy Award”.
Ray released his first CD as a leader, Always with a Purpose, in 2001. Then came Ray Blue Live at Liars Theater in 2004 and “Ray Blue Live at Liars Theater 2 in 2005. In 2006 Ray released ‘Transvision’ on the Neu Klang label and Berries and Blues in 2010.
Ray Blue consults and presents at schools, colleges, universities and communities institutions around the world. He is the founder of Cross-Cultural Connection, Inc. a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that promotes jazz culture, performance and education. He endorses GB Saxophones and Vandoren mouthpieces, reeds and accessories.