Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
A native of Australia, the alto saxophonist has lived in Britain since the early '60s. In his youth, Warleigh studied music and developed an interest in jazz; his first model on alto was Paul Desmond. He began playing professionally in the late '50s. He moved to England in 1960 and first played with blues musician Alexis Korner and later with such British jazz luminaries as Tubby Hayes, Humphrey Lyttelton, Ronnie Scott, and Mike Westbrook. Warleigh recorded his first album as leader -- aptly titled Ray Warleigh's First Album (Phillips) -- in 1968 (it remains unavailable on compact disc). From the '60s on, Warleigh has been an active freelancer in Britain, contributing to countless recordings by such artists as Long John Baldry, Nick Drake, John Mayall, Champion Jack Dupree, and Georgie Fame, to name just a few. Warleigh has also kept his foot in jazz and experimental waters; in the '70s he played with drummer John Stevens' Spontaneous Music Ensemble, worked with guitarist Allan Holdsworth, and led his own record dates. He played in the West German Radio Orchestra and in Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts' big band in the '80s, and recorded with flugelhornist Kenny Wheeler and classical composer Gavin Bryars for the ECM label in the '90s. Warleigh is also a highly regarded flutist.