Craig Bailey

Warm and Lyrical Sound

Craig Bailey is a veteran jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and flutist who is known for his warm and lyrical sound, as well as the special rapport he develops with his audience. He loves to invite you in on his experiences and history of playing as a jazz musician.

Growing up in Cincinnati Ohio, Bailey developed a love of the saxophone when his brother provided him with an album of Miles Davis, and he heard John Coltrane for the first time. It was at that point he decided to switch his instrument from clarinet to the saxophone.

Bailey has accompanied musicians such as drummer Charlie Persip's Superband before joining the world-renowned group of Panama Francis and his Savoy Sultans, where he learned about traditional swing music. He then landed an audition with Ray Charles and became Charles’ lead alto saxophonist from 1988 until 2004. While working with Ray Charles, Craig worked with other artists such as the Tana Reid Quintet. While the list of playing with other great musicians is plenteous, he values the experiences and guidance that he has taken from each musician that he has worked with that makes him the historian of music today. Bailey has a deep love for the culture and the tradition of jazz.

His debut album, A New Journey, was met with critical acclaim and is referenced in "The Encyclopedia of Jazz" (revised by Ira Gitler). His second release, Brooklyn, met with a favorable review in Jazztimes Magazine. Bailey's other albums releases include Brooklyn Big Band Live at Sweet Rhythm (2009) and Music à la Fleek as Craig Bailey and The Ohio Jazz Players (October 2018).

Bailey joined the University of Cincinnati - College-Conservatory of Music serving as the Associate Professor in Jazz Saxophone studies while still playing music throughout the country and abroad.

To learn more about Craig Bailey, visit

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