SRD Vol. 41 - RC Orchestra - Zurich 1961
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ESSENTIAL RAY CHARLES ON HIS WAY TO CONQUER FRANCE !
In 1961 was a crucial year for Ray Charles. He had been a great success at the Antibes Jazz Festival in July with a ‘small big band’ but in October 1961 he took a chance to hit Europe with a genuine big band, the Rolls Royce of jazz units. It was the ideal platform for what he was developing, and would be, a unique style.
Ray Charles returned to Europe and France, from 18 to 24 October 1961, for concerts in Zurich (18th), Lyon (19th), and four days of shows with his new big band at the (then new) Palais des Sports in Paris (21st - 24th).
The French recordings have survived, in several forms. Within the live-music part of Ray Charles' total body of work their importance, on the levels of quality, quantity, and uniqueness is only equaled by the Antibes 1961 footage.
However, the first concert of the tour in Zurich, of the same quality and importance, has remained totally unpublished until now, when the great TCB Swiss Radio Days series has recovered it. The sound is magnificent and the band swings from the opener with a remarkably balanced repertoire and brilliantly devised orchestral tuttis. A band at its performing peak from where Ray can deliver his, deliberately, flashy musical credo: Genius + Soul = Jazz.
Whispering or churchy, tender or punchy, his joy in this first ever concert of a tour that would be crucial for him and his career is audible… almost palpable.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable concert, musically speaking, and a ‘must’ for collectors and jazz aficionados.
RAY CHARLES ORCHESTRA:
RAY CHARLES, piano, vocal
MARCUS BELGRAVE, WALLACE DAVENPORT, PHIL GUILBEAU, JOHN HUNT, trumpets
HENDERSON CHAMBERS, DICKIE WELLS, KEG JOHNSON, trombones
RUDY POWELL, alto sax
HANK CRAWFORD, alto sax, band leader
DAVID NEWMAN, tenor sax, flute
DON WILKERSON, tenor sax
LEROY COOPER, baritone sax
ELBERT "SONNY" FORRIEST, guitar
EDGAR WILLIS, bass
BRUNO CARR, drrums
QUINCY JONES, arranger (tracks 1,2,9,10,11 & 17)
PRISCILA "PAT" LYLES, vocal
MARGIE HENDRICKS, vocal
GWEN BERRY, vocal
DARLENE McCREA, vocal
Recorded live at Kongresshaus Zürich, October 18, 1961.
01. Happy Faces
02. Along Came Betty
03. My Baby
04. Sticks and Stones
05. Georgia on My Mind
06. Blue Stone
08. Hit the Road, Jack
09. The Birth of a Band
10. I Remember Clifford
11. Come Rain or Come Shine
13. I Believe to My Soul
14. I've Got News for You
16. I Wonder
17. Ray Minor Ray