Gentle Giant's Ray Shulman dead at 73

Ray Shulman crop from Gentle Giant image against a grey wall, circa 2017
Ray Shulman, circa 2017 (Image credit: Press)

Gentle Giant have confirmed via social media the death of co-founding bassist and composer Ray Shulman. Elder brother Derek posted on Facebook, "I was with him until the end as he bravely battled a long illness. At least I know he is now at peace."

Born in 1949, Ray was the youngest of the Shulman brothers and, along with siblings Derek and Phil, was a founder member of Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. In 1970, the brothers formed Gentle Giant along with guitarist Gary Green, keyboard player Kerry Minnear and drummer Martin Smith. 

Ray was one of the band's main composers, contributing to all their albums from their 1970 self-titled debut and 1975 US hit Free Hand, through to their final studio release in 1980, Civilian. In addition to his work with Gentle Giant, he was also a record producer whose credits included Björk's former band The Sugarcubes, and composed music for computer games.

Ray played an active role in Gentle Giant's reissues campaign and, in 2020, made a special appearance in the "reunion" fan video for Proclamation

Ray is survived by his brothers Derek and Phil, and by his wife Barbara Tanner.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.