Ray Anderson (born October 16, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois) is an independent jazz trombone and trumpet player. Anderson is a boisterous trombonist who is masterful at multiphonics. Trained by the Chicago Symphony trombonists, he is regarded as pushing the limits of the instrument. He is a contemporary and colleague of trombonist/composer George Lewis. Anderson also plays Sousaphone and sings. He was consistently chosen as DownBeat Magazine's Critics Poll best trombonist throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s.
After spending study time in California, he moved to New York in 1973 and freelanced. In 1977, Anderson joined Anthony Braxton's Quartet (replacing George Lewis) and started working with Barry Altschul's group. From this point forward he started ranking high in polls and becoming influential himself. In addition to leading his own groups since the late '70s (including the funk-oriented Slickaphonics), Anderson has worked with George Gruntz's Concert Jazz Band. In the '90s, he began taking an occasional good-humored vocal, during which he shows the ability to sing two notes at the same time (a minor third apart).
The prolific Anderson also has demonstrated his special supportive skills on a remarkably wide assortment of albums by David Murray, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, Dr. John, Luther Allison, Bennie Wallace, Gerry Hemingway, Henry Threadgill, John Scofield, Roscoe Mitchell, Randy Sandke's Inside Out Band, Sam Rivers' Rivbea Orchestra, Bobby Previte and others. Anderson is also a member of Jim Pugh's Super Trombone with Dave Bargeron and Dave Taylor. He also received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a series of solo trombone concerts.
While pushing his sound into the future, Anderson has frequently returned to his early love of New Orleans music for inspiration. His Alligatory Band as well as his Pocket Brass Band, featuring tuba great Bob Stewart, are rooted in its tradition.
Since 2003 he has taught and conducted at Stony Brook University.