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26 January 2010

The Genius of Ray Charles (1959)

Cover photo by Lee Friedlander.
  1. Let The Good Times Roll (tenor solo by David Newman)
  2. It Had To Be You (tenor solo by David Newman)  
  3. Alexander's Ragtime Band (trumpet solo by Marcus Belgrave)
  4. Two Years Of Torture (tenor solo by Paul Gonsalves)
  5. When Your Lover Has Gone (tenor solo by David Newman)  
  6. ‘Deed I Do (tenor solo by David Newman)  
  7. Just For A Thrill
  8. You Won't Let Me Go
  9. Tell Me You'll Wait For Me
  10. Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'
  11. Am I Blue
  12. Come Rain Or Come Shine 
This was the all-American pop album Ray Charles had always dreamed of recording, with a full orchestra and strings. Atlantic Records' VP Jerry Wexler stated in a 2005 interview that he had wanted to use the Genius title before, but had to hold back for two years: "[...] my partners dissuaded me – that is, Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun – they said, ‘Let’s not get so boastful.’ Finally, we all agreed that the album deserved the appellation so that’s how it came about."
The album won the 196r0 Grammy Award in the Pop category for Best Vocal Performance Album as well as the Grammy for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance on Let The Good Times Roll.

  From Ebony, March 1960. The location may be Phil Ramone's
A&R Studio at 112 West 48th St. in NYC.
(1 - 6): Ray Charles - piano and vocals; Clark Terry - trumpet; Ernie Royal - trumpet; Joe Newman - trumpet; Snookie Young - trumpet; Marcus Belgrave - trumpet; John Hunt - trumpet; Melba Liston - trombone; Quentin Jackson - trombone; Thomas Mitchell - trombone; Al Gray - trombone; Frank Wess - flute, alto saxophone and tenor saxophone; Marshall Royal - alto sax; Paul Gonsalves - tenor sax; Zoot Sims - tenor sax; Billy Mitchell - tenor sax; David Fathead Newman - tenor sax; Allen Hanlon - guitar; Wendell Marshall - bass; Ted Sommer - drums; Jose Mangual (bongo drums on #3); Quincy Jones – arranger, conductor.
(7 - 12): Ray Charles - piano and vocals; Allen Hanlon - guitar; Wendell Marshall - bass; Ted Sommer - drums; Bob Brookmeyer - valve trombone; Harry Lookofsky - concertmaster; Unidentified - large woodwinds and strings section; Ralph Burns* - arranger. Recording engineers: Bill Schwartau and Tom Dowd.

* In this interview Bob Brookmeyer claims the arrangements for Just For A Thrill and You Won’t Let Me Go.

Promotional EP.
Recorded at Phil Ramone's A&R Studio in New York on 6 May, and - with Quincy Jones - on 23 and 26 June 1959. Atlantic 1312, 1959-10.
In 1959 Atlantic also released a promotional EP (#619) entitled The Genius Of Ray Charles, with Let The Good Times Roll / Come Rain Or Come Shine // Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin' / Alexander's Ragtime Band.

Youtube playlist: here.

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