Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ray Charles - The Great Ray Charles (1987)

This set is rather unusual, for it is strictly instrumental, allowing Ray Charles a rare opportunity to be a jazz-oriented pianist. Two selections are with a trio (bassist Oscar Pettiford joins Charles on "Black Coffee"), while the other six are with a septet taken from his big band of the period.
Key among the sidemen are David Newman (soloing on both tenor and alto) and trumpeter Joseph Bridgewater; highlights include Quincy Jones' "The Ray," "My Melancholy Baby," "Doodlin'," and "Undecided."
Ray Charles should have recorded in this setting more often in his later years. (AMG)

It's hard to go wrong with a Ray Charles album. However, fans of the man's beautifully expressive, bluesy voice may be in for a surprise with THE GREAT RAY CHARLES. An anomaly in the artist's huge discography, this disc is wholly instrumental, focusing on Charles' outstanding, jazz-influenced piano playing. The set is a mixture of standards ("The Man I Love," "Ain't Misbehavin'"), contemporary pieces (Horace Silver's "Doodlin'," Quincy Jones' "The Ray"), and several of Charles' own fine compositions.

The absence of this entertainment legend's pipes allows the listener to fully concentrate on Charles' skill as an ivory-tickler. The musician cites both Bud Powell and Nat Cole as influences, and his style hangs beautifully in the balance between technical proficiency and a clean, emotional approach. Backed by a spare combo, this is perfect dinnertime music. A quiet but swinging album, THE GREAT RAY CHARLES only adds to the multi-talented genius' deservedly huge reputation.(

01. Dawn Ray [5:04]
02. The Man I Love [4:27]
03. Music, Music, Music [2:56]
04. Black Coffee [5:32]
05. The Ray [4:00]
06. I Surrender Dear [5:08]
07. Hornful Soul [5:30]
08. Ain't Misbehavin' [5:41]
09. Joy Ride [4:40]
10. Sweet Sixteen Bars [4:07]
11. Doodlin' [5:54]
12. There's No You [4:47]
13. Undecided [3:40]
14. My Melancholy Baby [4:20]

On tracks 1-4 Ray Charles is accompanied by Oscar Pettiford, bass & Joe Harris, drums.

The personnel on tracks 5-9, 11-14 are Ray Charles, piano & celeste; David "Fathead" Newman, alto sax & tenor sax; Emmott Dennis, baritone sax; Joseph Bridgewater & John Hunt, trumpets (trumpet solos are by Joseph Bridgewater); Roosevelt Sheffield, bass; William Peeples, drums.

Joseph Bridgewater and Emmott Dennis do not appear on Joy Ride.

The personnel on track 10 are Ray Charles, piano; Roosevelt Sheffield, bass;
William Peeples, drums.

Dawn Ray, The Man I Love & Music, Music, Music were recorded on April 30, 1956, at Atlantic Studios, New York.
Hornful Soul, Ain't Misbehavin' and Joy Ride were recorded on November 20, 1956, at Capitol Studios, New York.

Tracks 1-4 Produced by AHMET ERTEGUN
Tracks 5-14 Produced by NESUHI ERTEGUN & JERRY WEXLER.
Recording engineers: Earl Brown & Tom Dowd
Cover photo: Lee Friedlander Cover design: Marvin Israel
Remastered by Elliott Federman, Atlantic Studios, New York.

Label: Atlantic
Released: 1987
Codec: Flac
Compression Level: 5
Quality: High
CD-rip by alekow (EAC and Flac)
Covers Included (400dpi)