Sunday, May 1, 2011
Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1950 he began playing and studying guitar at age 15. He played professionally in Melbourne for 5 years before going to L.A. to study with jazz great Joe Pass in 1973-74. He immigrated to Canada in 1975 performing in various bands while studying jazz, composition and arranging at Vancouver Community College and Capilano College. He then went on to study composition, electronic music and music for dance and theatre for three years at Simon Fraser University.
Ray has travelled to Brazil many times, concentrating on exploring different areas of the country and their unique musical styles. He studied there with great Brazilian guitarists Marco Pereira, Cristina Azuma and Paulinho Noguera as well as Celso Machado in vancouver. In 2007 he returned to Brazil and attended the choro festival in Sao Pedro and then went and studied at Escola Portatil in Rio for three months with Mauricio Carrilho, Rogerio Caetano, Luis Flavio and other teachers at the school. He also worked on composition with Marcilio Lopes and Rogerio Souza and wrote choro works as well as attending regular choro circles playing 7 string guitar. His compositions draw on the many different styles of music found all over Brazil and the many musicians he performed with and who inspired him there especially the choro players.
He returned to Brazil in 2009 to record the CD “Ray Piper Sabor Do Rio” which was a culmination of the previous trip and was recorded in Rio and completed in Vancouver. He wrote additional material for the CD which was recorded with Ronaldo do Bandolim, Marcilio Lopes, Rogerio Souza, Eduardo Neves, Jorge Helder, Erivelton Silva, Jorginho Silva, Durval Pereira , Kiko Horta, Jaimie Vignoli, Tom Keenlyside, Michael Creber, Joao Hermeto and Fernanda Cunha who wrote the lyrics to the Bossa Novas. The tunes he composed reflect a jazz player's love of the music and people of Brazil.
Ray has performed throughout North, Central and South America and Australia at concerts, clubs and festivals, He has performed regularly at the Vancouver International Jazz festival, Victoria International Jazz festival has appeared at the Film Festival, Sea Fest, Harrison festival of the Arts. Has been featured on CBC's Hot Air with Neil Ritchie and West Coast Groove. His first CD Ray Piper and Fantazea was nominated for a West Coast music award.