Ray Silkman has been touted as one of the best sax men in the business. Emerging from humble beginnings, Ray Silkman has persevered through the hardest of times to be recognized as a viable force in the music industry. Silkman began playing the saxophone at the age of 12 in an effort to feel a connection with the father that he never knew.
His love for the craft inspired him to practice daily and achieve first chair ranking in middle school and throughout college. Growing up in a struggling household, he found his greatest inspiration to be his mother, who told him “you can do anything that you put your mind to.” Silkman moved to Chicago shortly after his mother's death only to find himself homeless and alone after being robbed and abandoned by the very people who brought him there.
After spending months on the streets playing in subways and on street corners, he got his first break performing in a fashion show entitled OGGI, interpreted “Live for the day.” Other opportunities followed, including a principal role in a recurring Chicago HMO commercial. Since those lonely and cold days performing on street corners Ray Silkman has gone on to perform at countless clubs, festivals and special events in and around the Chicagoland area. His many performances have taken place in venues such as Chicago's United Center, Donald E Stevens Convention Center, Poplar Creek and virtually every major jazz club in Chicago over the past 17 years. Ray has independently released five CDs, including his signature work “Sound Check” which features the hit single “So Saxual.” “Sound Check” has received national and international acclaim as an epic work, producing multiple hit songs that still receive airplay on public and NIC radio stations across the U.S. Jazz FM in Europe has featured many of Ray's tracks on their evening jazz show, and “So Saxual” still receives major airplay here in the States. Ray Silkman has opened for jazz greats such as David Sanborn, Kenny G, George Benson, Keiko Matsui, Tom Scott and the late great Art Porter.
Silkman has performed throughout the country in other venues such as the Detroit Opera House, The Los Angeles Convention Center, Walt Disney's Pleasure Island and at The Hilton Hotel Niagara Falls. He has also received numerous awards and honors, including Midwest Magazines Artist of the Year 2005 and the Chicago Jazz Legends Award 2010. Silkman's sound has been described as incomparable by the late great Benny Carter, who stated, “this young man is sure to go places, I can feel his music.” Silkman's signature sound is accented by rich melodic tones and an undeniable command of his instrument. His style is fresh and literally on the verge of soaring, so it’s easy to see why it has been described as “the sound of Ray Silkman's soul pouring through his sax.” The Chicago Sun-Times exclaims “Silkman's sound is hypnotic to say the least.” As a continuously growing and developing artist, Ray Silkman is poised to continue contributing to the world of contemporary jazz and fusion music in a way that is uniquely recognized as definitive and distinct.
His latest offering "Desire" has already started quite a buzz, as Silkman wrote, produced, composed and performed the majority of the music on the newly released CD. “Desire” as well as “Heartbeat,” “Stepper's Serenade,” “Sound Check” and “A View of Love” are all available on CDbaby and iTunes exclusively..