Ray Charles: Original Album Series" data-original-title="" title="">David "Fathead" Newman, baritone saxophonist Bennie Crawford (soon to be known as Hank Crawford, mostly playing alto), and trumpeters Lee Harper and Marcus Belgrave as soloists. Band and music rock righteously, and the Newport appearance sealed Charles' acceptance as a serious talent by the jazz establishment.
The Genius Of Ray Charles is a departure from the previous two albums in featuring Charles in front of a big band comprising his regular group augmented by musicians from pianist Count Basie's orchestraand a larger departure, on its final half dozen tracks, by having Charles sing ballads over Ralph Burns' arrangements for a string and woodwind orchestra. The sweetening on these tracks extends, perhaps, a step too far, with the inclusion of warbling, wordless backing vocals (most assuredly not by the Raelettes). But as it increasingly did in the years to come, Charles' voice transcends any weaknesses in material or context, delivering its trademark soul whammy.
The Genius After Hours is an instrumental set, mainly of blues-derived originals but also including Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin,'" the Gershwins' "The Man I Love" and Weiss and Baum's "Music Music Music." On five tracks, Charles leads a trio, on the remaining three, a trio plus horns. Even more tellingly than does The Great Ray Charles, the album shows off Charles' talents as a bop and hard bop pianist. The tempestuous "Joyride" and "Charlesville" are straight, and convincingly, out of the Bud Powell tradition. The always on-song Newman turns in a particularly memorable tenor solo on "Ain't Misbehavin'" and Charles makes some winning recalibrations to the harmonic detail of "The Man I Love."
The Genius Sings The Blues is a collection of singles recorded 1953-59, and released after Charles had left Atlantic, with no personnel listings or recording dates. Enthusiasts will readily spot the early tracks, such as 1953's "The Midnight Hour" and 1954's "Feelin' Sad," made before Charles had assembled either his regular band or the Raelettes, and those masterpieces of a few years later such as 1959's "The Right Time" (heard on the audio clip below). The version of "I Believe To My Soul," also from 1959, is another three minutes of voodoo, a chillingly spectral reading including the Raelettes and with Charles on organ rather than piano. This final album in the Original Album Series may be something of a grab bag, but it is of the highest caliber throughout, just like the other four albums in the series.
Tracks and Personnel
The Great Ray Charles
Tracks: The Ray; My Melancholy Baby; Black Coffee; There's No You; Doodlin'; Sweet Sixteen Bars; I Surrender Dear; Undecided.
Personnel: Ray Charles: piano, celeste (7); David Newman: alto and tenor saxophones (1-5, 7, 8); Emmott Dennis: baritone saxophone (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8); Joseph Bridgewater: trumpet (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8); John Hunt: trumpet (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8); Roosevelt Sheffield: bass (1, 2, 4-8); Oscar Pettiford: bass (3); William Peeples: drums (1, 2, 4-8); Joe Harris: drums (3).
Ray Charles At Newport
Tracks: The Right Time; In A Little Spanish Town; I Got A Woman; Blues Waltz; Hot Rod; Talkin' Bout You; Sherry; A Fool For You.
Personnel: Ray Charles: piano, vocal, alto saxophone (5); David Newman: tenor saxophone; Bennie Crawford: baritone saxophone; Lee Harper: trumpet; Marcus Belgrave: trumpet; Edgar Willis: bass; Richie Goldberg: drums; The Raelettes: vocals (1, 6).
The Genius Of Ray Charles
Tracks: Let The Good Times Roll; It Had To Be You; Alexander's Ragtime Band; Two Years Of Torture; When Your Lover Has Gone; Deed I Do; Just For A Thrill; You Won't Let Me Go; Tell Me You'll Wait For Me; Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'; Am I Blue; Come Rain Or Come Shine.
Collective Personnel: Ray Charles: piano, vocal; Frank Wess: flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Marshall Royal: alto saxophone; Paul Gonsalves: tenor saxophone; Zoot Sims: tenor saxophone; David Newman: tenor saxophone; Billy Mitchell: tenor saxophone; Charlie Fowlkes: baritone saxophone; Bennie Crawford: baritone saxophone; Clark Terry: trumpet; Ernie Royal: trumpet; Joe Newman: trumpet; Snooky Young: trumpet; Marcus Belgrave: trumpet; John Hunt: trumpet; Melba Liston: trombone; Quentin Jackson: trombone; Thomas Mitchell: trombone; Al Grey: trombone; Bob Brookmeyer: trombone; Freddie Green: guitar; Allen Hanlon: guitar; Eddie Jones: bass; Edgar Willis: bass; Wendell Marshall: bass; Charlie Persip: drums; Teegle Fleming: drums; Ted Sommer: drums; Jose Mangual: bongos. Uncredited: strings, woodwind, voices.
The Genius After Hours
Tracks: The Genius After Hours; Ain't Misbehavin'; Dawn Ray; Joy Ride: Hornful Soul; The Man I Love; Charlesville; Music Music Music.
Personnel: Ray Charles: piano, vocal; David Newman: tenor saxophone (2, 4, 5); Emmot Dennis: baritone saxophone (2, 5); Joseph Bridgewater: trumpet (2, 5); John Hunt: trumpet (2, 4, 5); Roosevelt Sheffield: bass (1, 2, 4, 5, 7); Oscar Pettiford: bass (3, 6, 8); William Peeples: drums (1, 2, 4, 5, 7); Joe Harris: drums (3, 6, 8).
The Genius Sings The Blues
Tracks: Early In The Morning; Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I); The Midnight Hour; The Right Time; Feelin' Sad; Ray's Blues; I'm Movin' On; I Believe To My Soul; Nobody Cares; Mr Charles Blues; Some Day Baby; I Wonder Who.
Personnel: Ray Charles: piano, organ, vocal; various personnel.