Ray is a jazz musician who has been influenced by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and many more. He started playing piano at 7, cornet at 8 and then trumpet at 16, where he studied at Peter Symonds' college, Winchester. He later studied music at Kingston University. He studied trumpet with Ray Allen (Royal Academy of Music) for two years and Colin Clague (principal trumpet English National Opera) and later took up jazz piano and jazz trumpet.
Ray has since played for Princess Diana, six time GRAMMY winner, blues giant - Dr John, Mica Paris, Robbie Williams, Frank McComb (Buckshot Le Fonque) jazz great Jean Toussaint and recorded on Ivor Novello winner Scott Matthews' second album 'Elsewhere' (which also featured Robert Plant).
Ray plays a lot of Christian/gospel music, and recently recorded a trumpet solo for the tune 'Back to the Start' from the new solo E.P for UK Christian rock artist Martin Smith (former lead singer of multiple Dove award winner and Grammy nominated band Delirious?).
Ray also played the trumpet solo on GRAMMY award winner and multi platinum US recording artist, Chris Tomlin's song 'God's Great Dancefloor', from Grammy nominated 'Burning Lights' album. This was released on jan 8th, 2013 entering the US Billboard 200 charts at number 1, knocking off 'Les Miserables' from the top spot!
'Burning Lights' also topped the US Christian charts as well and won the 'Dove award' (Christian Grammy) for the catagory of 'Best Praise and Worship Album of the Year'. Ray's solo also appears on Chris's follow -on release; 'Passion: Let The Future Begin', reaching number four in the US Billboard 200, number 1 in the Christian charts, as well as winning a Dove award in the “Special Event Album of the Year” category.
Ray has appeared on national television, on shows such as 'Dial a Hymn' , 'Songs of Praise' as well as the GOD channel, Welsh TV and he and his band (the Ray Butcher Band) featured in the Channel 4 cult comedy "The Morgana Show". (2010)
He has also appeared on BBC 1 more recently on 'Landgirls'. (2011)
Ray also appeared with his own band 'The Ray Butcher Band' again, on Morgana Robinson and Terry Mynot's new show 'Very Important People', on the scenes spoofing President Obama. (episode 2, first broadcast 4th may, 2012)- Ray was visible, performing his tune 'Lion's Den' there as part of the president's 'house' band! (see 'Gallery' section)- video coming shortly!
In june 2012 Ray was invited by Maltese presenter/actor Clare Agius to appear on Malta's national TV, the show 'Ilsien In-Nisa, performing his tunes 'Lion's Den' and ballad 'After Midnight'. to backing tracks of his band, Miles Levin (drums) Tim Amann (keys) ,Mike Green (bass) and Chris Young (sax). He was also interviewed and explained his connection with Malta. (see videos section for the music)- the TV interview is also on youtube.
Ray plays a lot of music and has toured extensively, playing several dates in Moscow, 2007 and 2010 at the Union of Composers Club, withTim Amann X-Tet. This was courtesey of Russian sax man Oleg Kirijev. He also performed in St Petersburg's 'JFC' Jazz club with Tim too on the 2010 tour. He has performed in the USA, as part of a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina, courtesey of bassist and friend Laurie Lang (Madison, Wisconsin) where he also recorded three tracks that can be heard on his debut CD 'War on the Saints' (Audio for the Arts studio) featuring popular Minnesota pianist Mary Louise Knutson. Ray toured across Europe in many international jazz and blues festivals, and was once lead trumpet for over a year with 'King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys', where he often visited europe, performing festivals. He supported BB King twice also. His own band has played twice at London's famous 606 club and is a regular at the Malborough Jazz Festival, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and 2012.
Ray has also performed regularly in the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem's annual 'Feast of Tabernacles', in Jerusalem and played with popular US gospel artist Ron Kenoly, at the Royal Albert Hall, back in 2003, in a band with leading UK instrumentalists, Howard Francis, Issac Ayree and many more. He has played for former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, and many other dignitaries.
Ray has also managed the music at london's 'Blue Train Jazz Club' (56 Stamford St, Waterloo), since its opened, 2nd dec 2011, booking acts on behalf of the club, such as Jacqui Dankworth and Tina May including the new years eve show, 2011, event 'Mitch Winehouse and Friends'.
Ray also plays a lot with DJ's as a solo act and has residencies doing just this very thing! He can be hired to liven up and get the dancing off to a lively start at any club/private party type event! He has done this in Paris, Tenerife and the UK and is willing and able to please punters used to seeing saxophone and percussion players doing this!!!
He is also currently involved with booking the jazz acts on thursdays at 'The Yardbird', in Birmingham and The Artrix Arts Centre, in Bromsgrove, where he has booked acts like Claire Martin.
Ray has also nearly finished recording his new cd of original uptempo tunes and ballads called 'Lion's Den'!