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ALBUM REVIEWS

Ray Charles Orchestra: Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Vol. 41

Read "Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Vol. 41" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

We generally take it for granted now, but Ray Charles' trademark blend of jazz, gospel, R&B and soul in a large ensemble or orchestral setting was a unique sound mastered by few artists when this 1961 set was recorded. Number 41 in the Montreux Jazz Label's Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Zurich 1961 is a historical and musical treasure which might have been better recorded but could not have been better performed. Zurich 1961 reaches crackling, up-tempo jazz ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ray Charles Orchestra: Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Vol. 41

Read "Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Vol. 41" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

1961 was a classic jazz vintage for Ray Charles. That was the year he delivered unto us Genius + Soul = Jazz (Impulse!, 1961), and the year he took Europe by storm with a big band in tow. He was in good voice and spirits, he had top quality charts in his book--a good number from the pen of Quincy Jones--and he had a talent-filled band that included trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, trombonist Dicky Wells, alto saxophonist Hank Crawford, and tenor ...

THE VINYL POST

Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years in Mono

Read "Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years in Mono" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

Hot on the heels of their highly-touted vinyl project featuring the Atlantic sides of John Coltrane in mono, Rhino hits the vaults again for a comparable set that mines the work of Ray Charles in some of his earliest recorded works. A similar thread runs through both projects. A heavyweight box serves as a fashionable slipcover for the albums, which themselves sport glossy front covers. Mastering was done by John Webber and the albums were pressed in Germany, presumably at ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ray Charles: Genius Love Company – 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Read "Ray Charles: Genius Love Company – 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

"The way these days just rip along, too fast to last, too vast, too strong..." --Jackson Browne The final recording of Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company, enjoys its tenth anniversary. It is striking to consider that it has been over ten years since the death of Ray Charles, one of the most imposing figures in American music. The music made in the second half of the twentieth century has had a remarkable staying power owing partially to ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ray Charles: The Complete ABC Recordings 1959-1961

Read "Ray Charles: The Complete ABC Recordings 1959-1961" reviewed by Chris May

Ray CharlesThe Complete ABC Recordings 1959-1961Le Chant du Monde2012At first glance, it's a mystery. Why choose 1961 as the cut-off point for a collection spanning the first years of singer/keyboardist Ray Charles' lengthy tenure with ABC-Paramount? Extend that to 1962, and even within the 3-CD confines of The Complete ABC Recordings 1959-1961 it would be possible to include the momentous Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. This was the album that ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ray Charles: Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles

Read "Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Handsomely appointed, Concord's Singular Genius--The Complete ABC Singles offers an example of intelligent and succinct programming and assembly in the waning days of the compact disc. This individual items collection were produced during the heyday of the 45 RPM single, which is to say during the time of alphanumeric telephone exchanges. It represents all of Charles' ABC single releases between 1960 ("My Baby, I Love Her Yes I Do") and 1973 ("Ring of Fire"). What exists in between is nothing ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Ray Charles: Rare Genius

Read "Ray Charles: Rare Genius" reviewed by Chris May

Concord's reissue of vocalist and keyboardist Ray Charles' albums for ABC-Paramount, the label he moved to from Atlantic in 1959, is a mixed bag. It includes two winners, The Genius Hits The Road (1960) and Modern Sounds In Country Music Vols. 1 & 2 (1962), a so-so concept album, A Message From The People (1973)--and, in Live In Concert (1965), a stone masterpiece, Charles' all-round best live album. This edition is made essential listening by the inclusion of six previously ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ray Charles: Ray Charles Live in Concert

Read "Ray Charles Live in Concert" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

The Concord Music group inaugurated a release cycle celebrating Ray Charles' 80th birthday with Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters (Concord Records, 2010). Now, its reissue of Ray Charles Live in Concert, expanded with previously unreleased material from the same September 20, 1964 performance at the Shrine Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, captures Charles enjoying the pinnacle of his powers. Charles released few commercial live recordings in the 1950s and '60s, when his considerable talent and influence were ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ray Charles: Genius: The Ultimate Collection

Read "Genius: The Ultimate Collection" reviewed by Chris May

If you want a Ray Charles best-of album you've got plenty to pick from, and the run-up to the holiday season often adds another one. But this year's contender, the 21-track, 71-minute Genius: The Ultimate Collection, stands out from the crowd. For three reasons... First, the choice of tracks has a tight, coherent focus. Aside from a 1964 live version of “Hallelujah I Love Her So" and a 1972 studio recording of “America The Beautiful," all the selections ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ray Charles: Genius + Soul = Jazz

Read "Ray Charles: Genius + Soul = Jazz" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Ray Charles Genius + Soul = Jazz Concord Music 2010

Ray Charles spent the 1950s and 1960s transforming the atomic American musics of gospel, the blues, R&B and country into what has been tagged “soul." Should jazz have been immune to his considerable charms? No, of course not. During the early 1960s, Charles was making his transition from Atlantic Records to ABC Records. This transition was surrounded by the releases of The Genius Sings ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ray Charles: Original Album Series

Read "Ray Charles: Original Album Series" reviewed by Chris May

Ray Charles Original Album Series Warner/Rhino 2010 (1957-61)

Singer and pianist Ray Charles' period with Atlantic Records, from 1953 to 1960, which is the subject of Warner/Rhino's Original Album Series, was the most exciting in Charles' long and well documented career. Preceding the country music years which began on ABC in the early 1960s, the Atlantic era found Charles recording albums rather than singles; establishing his own touring and recording band, and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ray Charles & the Count Basie Orchestra: Ray Sings, Basie Swings

Read "Ray Sings, Basie Swings" reviewed by Martin Gladu

There is no recipe for success...or is there? Concord's Ray Sings, Basie Swings, reminiscent of past crossover duos, draws upon state-of-the-art technological means to propose a premium posthumous montage. Does this sound formulaic and forced? Maybe, but in the end, they credibly made it more musically attractive than say, yet another best of greatest hits compilation.

Spearheaded by Senior VP of A&R John Burk and producer/drummer Gregg Field, the serendipitous project does swing. And, like Genius Loves Company ...


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