Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Eveleigh, Raymond

Eveleigh, Raymond, pianist; b. Treherbert, Rhondda, Glam. South Wales, 15 April 1936. His father George (1906-2002) was a ukulele player and singer of George Formby material.  His mother was Daisy (1912-1993). He has two sisters, Sylvia and Patricia and two brothers, Ronald and Melvin. He's married to Brenda Eveleigh (Kirk) (soprano), born Dec. 14th. 1932. She studied at Cardiff College of Music & Drama (1955-1958) and studied under Alec Redshaw at Hull in 1968. Her father is Leslie Kirk and her mother is Jane. Together, Brenda and Raymond have two children, Jenny Bray (b. 1959), a singer-songwriter, and Richard (b. 1961). Both are now in the USA.Raymond studied at Cardiff University and Cardiff College of Music & Drama. 1955 - 1958.

Eveleigh (RevRay) was born in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales. For his B.Sc. degree he studied Physics and Mathematics at the University of Wales and also studied Music at the College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. His professional career has been mostly spent teaching and lecturing in Pure and Applied Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science. He worked for three years as a Mathematical Programmer with the Atomic Power Division of English Electric in the 1960's, when he became an Associate Member of the Institute of Nuclear Engineers.

He was ordained as a Priest in the Anglican Church in 1977. He studied Theology at the University of Hull where he was awarded an MA. He is also a trained Counsellor. His music is his ministry. He is also an accomplished Snooker player! Throughout his life he has been involved in music making of various kinds, ranging from accompanying his wife, Brenda Kirk, to playing in Jazz Clubs and Restaurants. Rev-Ray has written a jazz course which is taught in the UK and the USA. He has travelled to many parts of the world and has played in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and the USA. His favourite pianists are Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Keith Jarret. In 1983 RevRay met Harry 'Sweets ' Edison' whilst playing in bar in Newhope, Pennsylvania. Sweets presented him with a handwritten arrangement of "Loverman" which he had written for Billie Holiday.  The beer stains on the manuscript were still evident.

Brenda Kirk (Eveleigh) is Yorkshire born and proud of it but chose to study music in Gwlad y Gan (the Land of Song) where she first met RevRay. Her studies in Music, specialising in Voice Production, were at the College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Wales and led to Brenda becoming a Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music, London. As a little girl, Brenda always knew that whatever else she would do in life, she would sing. As a teenager in Yorkshire, she was much in demand singing Operatic Arias and Victorian Songs with all the confidence of Youth!

Brenda began her professional career in TV, Radio and the concert platform in South Wales and the West of England, making regular appearances in ITV's 'Land of Song' with Ivor Emmanuel. She gave Leider Recitals (Brahms being a favourite) and Oratorio (her repertoire included the Faur, Brahms and Verdi Requiems). She says she married RevRay because she needed a good accompanist (she also just happened to love the guy!). In recent years she has made the transition from classical to jazz with ease. She now specialises in Jazz/Blues singing in Jazz clubs and various functions and concerts in England and the USA. Brenda's favourite singers are Ella Fitzgerald, Ian Shaw, Eva Cassidy, Janet Baker and Thomas Hanson, all singers excelling in their different art forms.

As a young Mum, Brenda continued studies and became a qualified teacher of Religious Education, becoming Head of R.E. Department at a Senior High School. After ten years she was seconded for a year to B.B.C. Radio Humberside's Education Department. At the end of this time she resigned her teaching post and for several years she was a freelance producer/presenter, with her own programme called 'Contact'. As a guest preacher for two local Methodist Circuits, Chair of School Governors and member of the York Diocesan Synod, life was very busy until she and Raymond left the city to live on the Wolds of East Yorkshire,an area of great natural beauty.

Brenda and Raymond have two children, Richard and Jenny. Richard, who is a swinging bassist moved to America from England in 2000, and now lives with his wife and their daughter in Central New Jersey. He practised as a Gestalt psychotherapist in England for several years and studied at the Metanoia Institute in London. He is now the co-director of 'Journey Partners'; which provides a focussed team approach for people who desire positive change in their lives, careers and relationships. Jenny is a professional musician, also in Lambertville, New Jersey USA, where she has her own music studio.

Sophisticated Sounds (2000); Swinging At The Hall (2002); RevRay @ One (digitally programmed) (2003)

Contact information:
Raymond Eveleigh

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