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Ray Charles

"In music you just can't escape when something is beautiful," Ray Charles recently said. Added the legendary singer/pianist/composer, "Like a good song, you can't get away from a good song. You have a good song, and it will still be beautiful, even when somebody with a bad voice sings it. I love the old writers, who wrote beautiful love songs. I came up on those kinds of songs. But I have just as much love for blues and jazz too. "It's like {{m: Duke Ellington = 6521}} said; there are only two kinds of music - good and bad. And you can tell when something is good." That observation can apply to anything in Charles' extensive catalog. From country to blues to jazz to R&B and even funk, the 73- year old Charles has set the aesthetic standard for more than five decades, earning plaudits across the globe and setting standards that his legion of fans, in and out of the entertainment industry, aspire to. More often than not he wasn't called by his name - or even his longtime nickname "Brother Ray"---his is simply "The Genius." His career has borne that title out. Few artists can claim to have had such a wide ranging impact on the music we love, and even fewer have altered the course of so many musical streams - from his soul-jazz combos to his crucial R&B bands, to his landmark country music recordings, "Modern Sounds in Country Music." Only modesty kept him from saying the obvious - that his name sits at the top of the soul singers list. Ray Charles Robinson was born in Albany, Georgia on September 23, 1930 (he shares a birthday with another musical icon, John Coltrane). Charles was not born blind - he lost his sight to undiagnosed glaucoma at age seven. He enrolled in the St

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Meet Andy Bey

Read "Meet Andy Bey" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in February 2000. Listening for the first time to Andy Bey is like stepping into a quiet, still lake. Your foot first parts a surface that's smooth and tranquil, but you can't really tell from that surface how deeply your foot must ...

Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums

Read "Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums" reviewed by Chris May

There can be little argument that a jazz label ever captured a zeitgeist more completely than Impulse! did during its original 1960s incarnation. In the US, the fight back against white racism was cresting, opposition to the Vietnam war was growing, outrage over the assassinations of figures of hope such as President Kennedy, Martin Luther King ...

ARTICLE: PROFILE

20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know: Jay Thomas

Read "20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know: Jay Thomas" reviewed by Paul Rauch

The city of Seattle has a jazz history that dates back to the very beginnings of the form. It was home to the first integrated club scene in America on Jackson St in the 1920's and 30's. It saw a young Ray Charles arrive as a teenager to escape the nightmare of Jim Crow in the ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

John Scofield: One For Swallow

Read "John Scofield: One For Swallow" reviewed by Ian Patterson

From time to time in his storied career John Scofield will take a look over his shoulder and re-examine some of the music that has fed into his own, personal brand of jazz. The influences are many, for no matter the context that Scofield engineers, his distinctive sound always carries something of the blues, a little ...

ARTICLE: TOP TEN LIST

B.B. King: Through the Years

Read "B.B. King: Through the Years" reviewed by Alan Bryson

Sixty-six years passed from the time in 1948 when Riley King auditioned for a spot on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio program, until his final performance at the House of Blues on October 3, 2014 in Chicago. His life was a remarkable odyssey from a sharecropper's cabin to the pinnacle of success. We'll never know how many ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Louise Cappi: Mélange

Read "Mélange" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Vocalist Louise Cappi's recording Mélange is a musical collection of short stories, each cast as uniquely and differently as if they were written by a Mario Vargas Llosa or Gabriel García Márquez. Each selection is carefully curated, right down to the production, to achieve a given end. The title is apt as each of these songs ...

Take Five with Alex Bird

Read "Take Five with Alex Bird" reviewed by Alex Bird

Meet Alex Bird Alex Bird is a singer/songwriter and actor in jny: Toronto, ON. With a swinging style and an indescribable charm, Alex and his “Jazz Mavericks" are currently working on an entirely new chapter in the Great American Songbook, with their soon to be released, all original debut album, “Whisky Kisses" (Summer 2020). “The Way ...

ARTICLE: PROFILE

Bucky Pizzarelli: Remembering Family Rhythms On The Roads Of New Jersey

Read "Bucky Pizzarelli: Remembering Family Rhythms On The Roads Of New Jersey" reviewed by Arthur R George

Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, from 1926 to his passing at age 94 on April 1, lived his entire life in New Jersey, and had said that he couldn't imagine living anywhere else. Forget the turnpike jokes. Remember instead the nearness to jazz in New York, the closeness of family, shared driving in the New Jersey night, the ...

ARTICLE: PROFILE

20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know: Gail Pettis

Read "20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know: Gail Pettis" reviewed by Paul Rauch

The city of jny: Seattle has a jazz history that dates back to the very beginnings of the form. It was home to the first integrated club scene in America on Jackson St in the 1920's and '30s. It saw a young Ray Charles arrive as a teenager to escape the nightmare of Jim Crow in ...


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