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25 February 2010

O Gênio Live In Brazil (1963)

Ray Charles' Brazil 1963 tour entailed 10 concerts in 7 days, starting with concerts at the Teatro Municipal and Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro. The first gig after that was the filmed double concert on the 19th at Cultura Artística in São Paulo. The taping of the second concert on the 19th was aired by TV Excelsior on the 22nd.
The DVD's liner notes claim that "the" concert took place on the day before Ray's birthday, i.e. on 22 September, but an article by Edmundo Leite from 2005, Sai em DVD show de Ray Charles no Brasil em 1963, is better informed on Ray's Brazilian tour, and sheds a lot more light on the band's adventures.
The 21st and 22nd the band played the Clube Atletico Paulistano in São Paulo. The ad reproduced below shows how TV Excelsior presented Ray's show as an epic event. In fact, the whole venture was part of a publicity war with the station's biggest competitor, who - after announcing a broadcast of Ray's "1959" Newport concert [sic! should be 1960, BS] - was countered by TV Excelsior with another newspaper ad. This ad was published on the 14th and signed by the Ray Charles Corporation, represented by an agent called Henry "Golddrand" [sic!], who declared that the Newport film was aired without the permission of the artist and that a criminal action against those responsible would be undertaken by the company.
On the day of the first concert the Maritime Police - then responsible for the control of foreigners - received an anonymous tip that the Charles group had entered the country with tourist visas, which would make it impossible to take on any contracted work in Brazil. The only official way to work around that would be to return to the United States, ask for new visas at the Brazilian consulate, and for "a medical certificate to prove their physical capacity for work". The case became a diplomatic issue and was resolved after intervention by the U.S. embassy.
The first concerts at Cultura Artistica "shook the center of São Paulo". During the day crowds of autograph  hunters formed in front of the Hotel Jaragua. Ray managed to "enter the theater [...] with the help of elements of the Civil Guard and the Armed Forces," a newspaper reported.
In a post scriptum post Edmundo Leite showed that the ticket prices for Ray's concerts were outrageous:  comparing to $250 - 335 at the first venue in São Paulo, and $85 - 168 at the Clube Atletico.

The DVD
The DVD Ô-Genio - Ray Charles Live In Brazil presents the two concerts that were filmed on the 19th (but not in a chronological order; see below). The TV film was directed by Elio Tozzi, and produced by Ricardo Amaral.
It's not certain that The Genius would have approved of the release. The DVD obviously was produced in a hurry, post mortem. The video codec was poor, the sound was not remastered, the title was wrong, and David Ritz' liner notes were incredibly sloppy. Thank God, the music was terrific.

The first concert on the DVD has:

  1. What'd I Say
  2. Take These Chains from My Heart 
  3. You Are My Sunshine
  4. Don't Set Me Free
  5. Carry Me Back To Old Virginny 
  6. My Bonnie 
  7. In The Evening (When the Sun Goes Down) 
  8. Just A Little Lovin' 
  9. You Don't Know Me 
  10. Margie 
  11. Hit The Road Jack 
  12. Moanin' 
  13. Birth Of A Band 
  14. Hallelujah I Love Her So  
  15. Untitled jazz instrumental
The second concert entails:
  1. Hallelujah I Love Her So 
  2. In The Evening (When The Sun Goes Down)
  3. Erontex commercial
  4. Moanin' 
  5. My Bonnie 
  6. No One 
  7. Don't Set Me Free 
  8. Take These Chains From My Heart
  9. I Can't Stop Loving You 
  10. Don't Set Me Free [reprise] 
  11. You Are My Sunshine 
  12. What'd I Say  
  13. Ray Charles Entre Nos [commercial]
  14. Outro
Billboard, 7 September 1963.
Personnel:
Musicians:
Oliver Beener, Roy Burrows, Phil Guilbeau - trumpet; Julian Priester, Keg Johnson, James Harbert, Henderson Chambers - trombone; Harold Minerve, Danny Turner - alto saxophone; David Fathead Newman, Tina Brooks - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Wilbert Hogan - drums; Sonny Forriest - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass. The Raelettes: Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, Darlene McCrea, Patricia Richards.

The correct Portuguese spelling of the DVD's title would be O Gênio ("Hey, Genius!"). DVD: Rhino/WEA, 16 November 2004, B000641A7M.

"First" show:

The "second" set is clearly from an earlier concert that was used as a camera rehearsal for the superior "first" set. Picture and sound quality may be less, but the music is as good.

Both concerts:



 

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