Ray Lewis discovered jazz at thirteen, listened to all the classic records over the next 4 years ( Armstrong, Morton, Beiderbecke etc ) and taught myself trombone at age 17. Melbourne based New Orleans revivalist trumpet player Chris Deutcher did a thorough brainwashing job on me and I joined his band at age 18. I also played with Nick Polites and occasionally deputized for Roger Janes in the Yarra Yarra JB. In 1971 I joined Geoff Bull's band in Sydney to tour Europe for approx 10 months. While in the UK, I played and recorded with Barry Martin's band which at the time featured legendary New Orleans pianist, Alton Purnell. On return to Melbourne my tastes broadened somewhat and I played in various bands of differing styles plus furthered my knowledge of musical theory by buying a piano and learning basic harmony. The late Bill Howard, trombonist in the Red Onion Jazz Band, helped me greatly with exercises to improve my technique and breathing. These days my greatest influences come from all manner of trombone players but notably Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity and the wonderfully eccentric Vic Dickenson. Having said that, I still love the tailgaters, Kid Ory, George Brunies,and the somewhat underrecorded Santo Pecora.
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