Ray Swinfield

Dec 14, 1939
Oct 04, 2019

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From London Jazz News:

[…] Ray’s active 50 year career in music began in his native Australia. Aged eight, his love of music began in the Primary school Fife Band. He recalled once in an interview that even from that early age, he knew he wanted to be a musician and was determined to work hard to achieve his goal.

In his teenage years, Jazz became his main focus. He would race home from school to listen to his latest vinyl of Buddy de Franco, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Charlie Parker or Ben Webster, then practise the clarinet, saxophone and flute for hours. He was thrilled to see The Ted Heath Orchestra perform in Sydney, little knowing he would one day become a prominent member of that orchestra until its final performance in 2002.

At 17, his professional career began and he quickly proved to be a much sought after player on the Sydney scene. This included numerous TV shows, studio work, jazz clubs, and recordings. Highlights throughout that time were a TV Special with Nat King Cole and playing in the Orchestra conducted by Bill Miller for Frank Sinatra in his 1962 Australian concerts. At that time, he never imagined that one day he’d be playing in the Count Basie Orchestra behind Sinatra at The Royal Festival Hall.

In 1964, he arrived in England for an intended 12 month stay. His versatility and skill as a woodwind player was quickly recognised and led him to living and working here for the next 44 years, working beside musicians he highly regarded.

He became a regular and valued addition to the British music scene, which included Session work, film soundtracks, commercials, TV shows, Royal Command Performances, BBC Radio Broadcasts, West End Shows, Pop recordings of the ’60s… Tom Jones, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Englebert Humperdinck, The Beatles’ Penny Lane, etc…

He made regular appearances with the LSO, the RPO, recorded albums with his own group, Argenta Ora, worked with Harry James, Tubby Hayes, George Shearing, John Dankworth, Andre Previn, Henry Mancini, Michel LeGrand, Jerry Goldsmith, the list is endless. Played in concerts, recorded or toured with Cleo Laine, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Natalie Cole, Liza Minelli, Lena Horne, Kiri Te Kanawa, Mel Torme, too many to mention. He played in several bands but was a permanent member of The Don Lusher Band for many years. There were also dozens of TV shows from Top of the PopsThe Dame Edna Experience to Strictly Come Dancing.

Twice a Downbeat Poll Winner, a Guest Lecturer at Flute Conventions, here and abroad, Album of the Year in jazz publications, Ray’s mastery of his instruments received numerous accolades throughout his career but as Dave Gelly once said in Jazz Journal, it was ”a brilliance lightly worn”. […]

Last updated on January 28, 2023

Recording sessions Ray Swinfield participated in

Recording "Penny Lane" #6

Jan 09, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane

Albums, EPs & singles which Ray Swinfield contributed to

Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane

By The Beatles • 7" Single

Contribution: Flute • 1 songs

Magical Mystery Tour (US LP - Mono)

By The Beatles • LP

Contribution: Flute • 1 songs

1967-1970 (US version, 1973)

By The Beatles • Official album

Contribution: Flute • 1 songs

1967-1970 (UK version, 1973)

By The Beatles • LP

Contribution: Flute • 1 songs

Rarities (US - 1980)

By The Beatles • Official album

Contribution: Flute • 1 songs


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