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25 January 2010

The Great Ray Charles (1957)

  1. The Ray
  2. My Melancholy Baby
  3. Black Coffee
  4. There's No You
  5. Doodlin'
  6. Sweet Sixteen Bars
  7. I Surrender Dear
  8. Undecided
This was Ray’s first album that was produced as an album. It positioned Ray as a multi-styled musician, who was also able to tape some genuine jazz tracks, through a mix of trio and band sessions. In the liner notes Ray mentioned the four piano players who had most influenced him: Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Nat King Cole, and Oscar Peterson. Ray’s friend Quincy Jones penned the leadoff track, The Ray.
The recordings took place in New York, on 30 April (#3), 20 (#1, 6, 7) and 26 November (#2, 4, 5, 8)  1956.

Ray Charles - piano and (on I Surrender Dear) celeste; David Newman - alto and tenor saxophone; Emmott Dennis - baritone saxophone; Joe Bridgewater, John Hunt - trumpet; Roosevelt Sheffield, Oscar Pettiford - bass; William Peeples, Joe Harris - drums. Ernie Wilkins, Quincy Jones - arrangers.
Atlantic 1259, August 1957.

Billboard from 8 December 1956 (see clipping) had some good free publicity by Ahmet Ertegun, announcing "the first jazz LP with the versatile rhythm and blues warbler-pianist-maestro, Ray Charles", done "in the modern idiom", marking "the debut of a spectacular new alto man, known as Fathead".

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