Ray’s first drum teacher was his Uncle Jimmy who taught him all about feel, groove, soul and the joy and love of playing and sharing music. That’s what it’s all about …isn’t it?
He is a graduate of Brooklyn College, where he studied percussion with Morris Lang of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Performance.
He’s been an in-demand player in New York for more than 25 years, appearing on countless sessions, Broadway productions and TV shows. One of the most diverse freelance drummers in New York City, Marchica is a longstanding member of The Ed Palermo Big Band, which specializes in the music of Frank Zappa, a challenging gig that demands the most highly skilled of drummers (Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta and Chad Wackerman filled the drum chair during Zappa’s heyday). He is also a member of The Mike Longo New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble, The Russ Kassoff Big Band, The Gary Morgan Pan Americana Big Band. He also plays regularly with The Birdland Big Band.
Aside from his own two CD’s as a leader “In The Ring” and “A Different View”, he has appeared on three acclaimed Ed Palermo outings, 1998’s The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays the Music of Frank Zappa, 2006’s Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance and 2009‘s Eddy Loves Frank and the upcoming “Oh No! Not Jazz!!” and The Butterfield/Bloomfield Project featuring Rob Paparozzi. Marchica has also recorded with James Brown (1986‘s Gravity), Barbra Streisand (2010’s live at the Village Vanguard album One Night Only Live), Southside Johnny (2008’s Grapefruit Moon) and Nellie McKay (2006’s Pretty Little Head). Marchica has worked with Little Richard, Dan Hartman, Earl Klugh, The Gatlin Brothers, guitar heroes Roy Buchanan and Johnny Winter, and singers Marilyn Maye, Nina Hennessey, Betty Buckley, Leslie Uggams, Bernadette Peters, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Tommy Tune, Joel Grey, Jimmy Webb and Michael Feinstein.
Ray played drums on Prairie Home Companion’s visit to Manhattan in December,2013.
As drummer in the house band for “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” for it’s entire six-year run, he performed with Phil Collins, Tony Bennett, Bette Midler, Cher, Marc Anthony, Robert Palmer, Jennifer Holiday, Chaka Khan and Neil Diamond, among other guests that appeared on the show.
His Broadway and theater credits include: Radio City Music Hall, A Chorus Line, Starlight Express, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Damn Yankees, and The Will Rogers Follies. He also played on three of the biggest Broadway flops in history: 1978’s “A Broadway Musical, 1992’s “The Red Shoes, and 2003’s “Dance of The Vampires”. He is currently the drummer in the hit Broadway production of Mamma Mia.
The Ray Marchica Group regularly plays Smoke and Iridium in NYC. Ray is married to singer actress dancer Nina Hennessey. Their children, Paolo Marchica and Maddy Ruff, are now young adults.