David Hadley Ray
In 1987,I was fortunate to play bass on several studio sessions in which Dana Walden of the band Champaign (How ‘bout us, Try Again) produced. I continued working on the Midwest college circuit, playing blues and folk rock. This is where I fell under the tutelage of several notable figures… Pete Bridgewater, John Pennell, and Donald Rafael Garrett. Pete Bridgewater was a veteran upright bassist that encouraged me to play in the local community college big band.
John Pennell was teaching at a music store on the campus of the University of Illinois. I went there for technique, but John felt that he couldn’t, in his words, “teach me anything technically.” Eventually, we concentrated on my reading skills. I subsequently spent the next few years working and studying voraciously. John advised me to become friendly with the Upright bass. That’s when the name Donald Rafael Garrett was brought to my attention.
My first lesson with Rafael was notable because I learned that he had played and recorded with John Coltrane. I thought that he was bluffing, to my chagrin. I found myself back in Philadelphia, the city of my birth, and by luck or fortune, met Jim “Jif” Hinger. The engineer for Boyz II Men and other notable artists. Jif started calling me for recording sessions which led to more local notoriety and gigs at J.C. Dobbs and other Philly venues. I continued my studies with Gerald Veasley, who was playing with The Zawinul Syndicate, led by Joe Zawinul (Weather Report, Cannonball Adderley), Pieces of a Dream, and Grover Washington Jr.
Finding myself on welfare and scuffling for work, I scored a gig playing R&B with an all American band located in the Canary Islands. Playing 7 days a week, 4 sets a night, I came to the attention of Mike McCartney, brother of Paul McCartney. He said “You’re a shit hot bass player, you should come to Liverpool... ”
Eventually, I landed at Liverpool airport, afterwards, doing session work and gigging. I then had the good fortune of being brought to the attention of Henry McCullough, the former Wings guitarist and the only Irishman onstage at Woodstock (Joe Cocker and the Grease band). After joining his band and touring Ireland, I found myself in London, meeting Pete Brown. The lyricist/poet for the 60’s rock band the Cream. Pete provided support for my writing and also invited me to join his band the Interoceters.
In 2007, by the Invitation of Pete Brown, I was fortunate to Play on the Eagle Rock album, “From Clarksdale to Heaven: Remembering John Lee Hooker.” This album was a milestone for me, because it allowed me to play with the legendary Jeff Beck. Another bonus for me, was the drummer, Richard Bailey. Richard was a member of the electrifying Jeff Beck group that released seminal albums that prefaced the 1970’s explosion of jazz/rock fusion.In 2001, by the invitation of Poet/Lyricist Pete Brown,
I played on the W.C. Handy nominated album Blues and Beyond. This album was a solo endeavor for the late saxophonist Dick Heckstall- Smith, a founding member of the British Rock band Colosseum. This album allowed me to work with many of the Elite members of the British Blues scene (Peter Green, Paul Jones, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor, et. al.).In 2009, I played on the Album Road of Cobras, under Phil Ryan and Pete Brown.