Ray Johnson


Ray Johnson, pictured above extreme left) one of the area's top jazz and soul saxophone players, has died, aged 67.

A former Army bandsman - and stationed for a time in Germany - Ray played sax, clarinet and flute.
He was a long-time jazz fan who, after leaving the Army mid-1960s, also starred in Manchester soul band The Dreamweavers.

Later, Ray helped found and name The Splendid Egg, confessing that he'd always wanted to play in a band so-called.

Born in Audenshaw, Ray later lived in Droylsden for some years before moving to Mossley where he ran a car bodywork and re-spraying garage by day.

From the 1970s, Ray went on to be part of other leading musical outfits including Henderson Chambers (above) and Souled As Seen, as well as featuring with many jazz groups and big bands. They included the Stuart Riley Octet, the 16-piece Ronnie Hayes Big Band, and the Wally McKenzie Orchestra.

Possessing a wry sense of humour, Ray was hugely liked and respected by fellow musicians and audiences for his improvisational ability and technical skills.

His funeral - attended by many musicians - took place at Dukinfield Crematorium on April 30.

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