Ray Russell (musician)

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Ray Russell
Ray Russell in July 2004
Ray Russell in July 2004
Background information
Born (1947-04-04) April 4, 1947 (age 76)
Islington, North London, England
GenresJazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator, TV and film producer
Years active1963–present
LabelsCuneiform, Angel Air

Raymond Russell is an English session musician and experimental jazz rock guitarist. He is also a record producer and composer.[2][3] Russell made his professional debut as Vic Flick's replacement as lead guitarist in the John Barry Seven.

Session guitarist[edit]

In 1973 he was a member of the band Mouse, which released a progressive rock album entitled Lady Killer for the Sovereign record label.[citation needed]

Composition in TV/film[edit]

In 1963, Russell assumed Vik Flick's position as lead guitarist of the John Barry Seven. He played on the soundtracks for James Bond films - Moonraker,[4] You only live twice, Octopussy,[5] Thunderball,[5] Live and let die, The man with the Golden Gun, and The spy who loved me.[citation needed] Russell was later employed by George Harrison's company HandMade Films and played for the film scores of Monty Python's Life of Brian, Water and Time Bandits.[6]

Russell's TV compositions have included A Touch of Frost, for which he won a Royal society Television Award,[7] Bergerac, Plain Jane, A Bit of a Do, Rich Tea and Sympathy, The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, Dangerfield and Grafters, as well as The Murder of Meredith Kercher and BBC's Hooded Men. He also played in the DVD Simon Phillips Returns with Simon Phillips and Anthony Jackson.[citation needed]

Russell was composer for British TV Detective series A Touch of Frost - series 6-15 between 1999-2010.6[2] He released an album A Touch of FrostT in 2003 which featured David Jason as Frost on the cover.[2]

In 2008 Russell, drummer Ralph Salmins, and sound engineer Rik Walton created Made Up Music, a music library that distributes music on its web site and by sending portable hard drives to music editors.[5]

In March 2020, Russell featured on an episode of the BBC Television programme Antiques Roadshow, in which his fretless six-string electric guitar, made by Bartell and gifted to him by George Harrison, having originally belonged to John Lennon, was valued at £300,000-£400,000.[8][9]


  • Turn Circle (CBS, 1968) [10][11]
  • Dragon Hill (CBS, 1969)
  • June 11, 1971: Live at the ICA (RCA Victor, 1971)
  • Rites & Rituals (CBS, 1971)
  • Secret Asylum (Black Lion, 1973)
  • Ready or Not (DJM, 1977)
  • This Side Up (B&W, 1989)
  • A Table Near the Band (Angel Air, 1990)
  • Guitars from Mars (Virgin, 1990)
  • Why Not Now (1988)
  • Childscape (1990) with Gil Evans and Mark Isham
  • June 11th 1971: Live at the ICA / Retrospective (Mokai, 2000)
  • A Touch of Frost (Universal, 2003)
  • The Composer's Cut (Angel Air, 2005)
  • Goodbye Svengali (Cuneiform, 2006)[12]
  • Myths & Legends (Strip Sounds, 2007)
  • Now, More Than Ever (Abstract Logix, 2013)[13]
  • The Celestial Squid with Henry Kaiser (Cuneiform, 2015)[5]
  • Fluid Architecture (Cuneiform, 2020)


  1. ^ Farbey, Roger (March 2003). "Nucleus Live in Bremen". Ian Carr + Nucleus Website. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "RTS Yorkshire Awards 2006". Royal Television Society. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  3. ^ "Ray Russell | Guitarist and Composer". Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  4. ^ Moonraker Soundtrack Album B000008HTH Recorded April 1979 - EMI
  5. ^ a b c d "Ray Russell | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  6. ^ Brett, Paul (2021). Finding Fretless The story of George Harrison Mad Guitar. United Kingdom: This day in music. ISBN 9781838379889.
  7. ^ "Royal Television Society Award Yorkshire area 2006". 31 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Battle Abbey 1". Antiques Roadshow. Series 42. Episode 1. 1 March 2020. BBC Television. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  9. ^ Brett, Paul (2021). Finding fretless : the story of George Harrison's 'mad' guitar. Prestatyn, Wales. ISBN 978-1-8383798-8-9. OCLC 1294358057.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  10. ^ "Ray Russell Quartet - Turn Circle review". The Vortez Jazz Club. Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  11. ^ Farbey, Roger (20 October 2007). "Turn Circle". All About Jazz.com. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  12. ^ Bivins, Jason (9 April 2006). "Goodbye Svengali review". Dusted Magazine. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  13. ^ Fordham, John (16 May 2013). "Ray Russell: Now, More Than Ever – review". Guardian Media Group. The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2023.

External links[edit]