Edinburgh-born saxophonist Jay’s infatuation with the instrument began at a very tender age when he was taken to hear Duke Ellington’s Orchestra by his clarinet teacher. Later, following a four year stint in NYJO, Jay won a scholarship to Boston’s famous Berklee College of Music.
After two years he left to join Buddy Rich’s Orchestra, touring America and Europe with the band solidly for the next three years, until Buddy’s death.
On moving to London in 1987, Jay freelanced in the West End before joining the BBC Big Band in 1992. Over the years he has worked with a host of major artists including Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Shirley Bassey, Vic Damone, Jack Jones, Billy May, Burt Bacharach, Al Martino, Cleo Laine, Natalie Cole, Jamie Cullum, Buddy Greco, Claire Teal, Ray Charles, Michael Buble, Les Brown and Ray Anthony.
He has also played in the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Concert and Symphony Orchestras.
A founder member of the Echoes of Ellington, Back To Basie and Solid Senders big bands, he also plays baritone with the Syd Lawrence and John Wilson Orchestras, as well as the BBC Big Band.
Jay also directs his own big band – Jay Craig and His Orchestra. Formed as a rehearsal band in February 2004, following 6 months of cruel and pitiless rehearsal it made an instantly impressive public debut in the glittering Champagne Room of the Rayners Hotel in August 2005 – and continues to host sell-out performances across the UK to the present day.