Edinburgh-born baritone saxist jay Craig’s infatuation with the instrument began at the tender age of fourteen when he was taken to hear Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and met the man who was to have such a profound influence on his playing - Harry Carney. Later, following a four year stint in the National Youth jazz Orchestra combined with several years under the stern baton of veteran bandleader Tommy Sampson at the Glasgow Rangers Club, Jay won a scholarship to Boston’s famous Berklee College of Music. After two years he left to join the Buddy Rich Orchestra, touring America and Europe solidly for the next three years.
Upon moving to London in 1987, Jay freelanced in the West End as a theatre musician, did a couple of cruises on the QE2 and a season in Monte Carlo with the Johnny Howard Band before joining the BBC Big Band in 1992.
A founder member of the Echoes of Ellington, Back To Basie and Solid Senders orchestras he is currently the baritone sax man in the Syd Lawrence and John Wilson orchestras as well as the BBC Big Band while continuing to deputise regularly in various theatre pits. His favourite musicians include Harry Carney, Artie Shaw, Sy Oliver, Johnny Hodges, Jerry Gray, Kenny Baker, Luis Arcaraz, Bruce Johnstone, Duke Ellington and Woody Herman.
Over the years Jay has worked with many of his favourite artists including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Cleo Laine, Robert Farnon, Shirley Bassey, Natalie Cole, Billy May, Bob Florence, Lennie Niehaus, Elmer Bernstein, Les Brown, Ray Anthony, Lalo Schiffrin, Bill Russo, Rob McConnell, Michael Feinstein, Al Martino, Sammy Nestico, John Dankworth, Frank Mantooth, Rosemary Clooney, Vic Damone, Bob Brookmeyer, Gerald Wilson, Mel Torme, Sir Simon Rattle, Jessye Norman, Sammy Davis Jr. and a host of other artists as well as The London Symphony Orchestra, The BBC Concert and Scottish Symphony Orchestras, The CBSO, The London Philharmonic Orchestra and The London Sinfonietta Jay is particularly proud to have been involved in both the John Wilson Orchestra soundtrack for the recent movie about Bobby Darin, “Beyond The Sea” ( a very happy experience ) and also the superb “Tribute to the MGM Symphony Orchestra” Prom on BBC Television in 2009.