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27 February 2010

Ray Charles Meets Dizzy Gillespie (1978)

Photos by Gérald Bosshard.
Photo by Christian Eggenberger.
Billboard of 8 July 1978 announced the event as the "[...] appearance of Ray Charles with an all-star band featuring Dizzy Gillespie [...] as a world exclusive". The Montreux Jazz Festival's database gives an exact date and location for Ray Charles' performance: 13 July 1978, at the Casino.

Ray Charles played two sets. In one he took the stage alone, delivering a lengthy medley, accompanying humself on electric piano. In the other Dizzy Gillespie (tp), oldtime regulars Hank Crawford (as) and David Newman (fl, ts), a rhythm section with Mickey Roker (ds), Kenny Burrel (g), and George Duvivier (b), and (only partly, thank God) Esther Phillips joined Ray on stage. The gig is best known from a bootleggish CD, titled Ray Charles Meets Dizzy Gillespie (CD: Disk ID 1685304; Jazz File JF1005), with the following track list:
  1. Stormy Monday
  2. Georgia On My Mind 
  3. How Can You Get In (When You Get Out)
  4. God Bless The Child (ft Esther Philips)
  5. Hallelujah I Love Her So
  6. Blues Jam In F*
  7. Medley
  8. Salt Peanuts
* Titled Ray Charles Blues in the Montreux Festival concert database.
On video, the set with Dizzy sometimes looks like a desperate undertaking, first because of microphone problems, then because Roker and Duvivier have some serious troubles with keeping (Ray's!) time. I've never seen Brother Ray work this hard.

The database of the Montreux Festival gives the  video footage in their vaults a total duration of 01:45:33.
From the "Dizzy set" I saw a copy of a (probably not entirely legit) 71-minute DVD (see picture) with a good video quality, titled Ray Charles à Montreux 1978*. The credits at the end specify that the footage was taken from a broadcast by Télévision Suise Romande (TSR). The sound mix of the CD gave much more space to the response of the audience, but didn't balance the sound of the combo as well as the sound score of the DVD.

The DVD has the following tracklist:

1. Ray Charles Blues (also titled: Blues Jam in F)  (solos DN - ts; HC; KB; RC - p;  GD; MR, DG)
2. How Can You Get Out* (solos DG; DN - ts, HC, KB)
3. Georgia On My Mind (solo DN - fl)
4. Autumn Leaves (solo DG)
5. Willow Weep For Me (solo HC; RC - scat)
6. Hallelujah I Love Her So
7. Stormy Monday (solos KB; DG)
8. God Bless The Child (Esther Phillips)
9. What'd I Say (with EP)
10. Medley
11. Salt Peanuts (partial, 'under' credits)

* This tune is at least 90% similar to Sonny Rollins' Doxie - did Ray improvise the lyrics?

A good copy of the CD:

Willow Weep For Me:

* A while ago I also watched a copy of a 41-minute edit of this DVD, of a much lower quality.

Ray's solo medley entailed fragments of:

. I've Got A Woman
. Hallelujah I Love Her So
. Yesterday
. Unchain My Heart
. Don't Set Me Free
. I Can't Stop Loving You
- Hit The Road Jack
. Crying Time
. I Can See Clearly Now
. Ruby
. Interlude: "Feeling In My Bones"
. The Sun Died
. For Mamma
. What'd I Say (Everything's All Right/Shake That Thing intro)

Ad in New York
Times, Dec. 7.
Photo by Gérald Bosshard.
The video footage has been recycled several times. This source announced a 2-hour video edit of the whole show, titled Ray Charles At Montreux, produced by Jack Sameth and John Adams, that was aired on 7 December 1978 by PBS.
On 17 July 1978 the Swiss TV station Suisse Romande aired a 40-minute program titled Festival de Jazz de Montreux 1978: Reflets de la soirée Ray Charles. Source here.
On 6 November 1978 the same station broadcast a 45-minute program titled Anatole: The Genius, with Ray Charles "et ses compagnons d'un soir au Festival international de Montreux". Source here.
Source materials in Ina (ID CPB80054177; rushes and rest materials: I05062393, I05132653, I05244584) are filed under that same year.
Another Ina file (ID CPB88014786) refers to a "second" Montreux programme that aired on 31 July 1980, also on TF 2.
Footage from the concert was also broadcast in the U.S. The earliest air date I've found was 7 December 1978 (see ad).

Missing tunes
L-R: Dizzy Gillespie, Mickey Roker,
George Duvivier, Ray Charles.
The festival's Concerts Database mentions two tunes that didn't make it to any of the known (bootleg) releases: In A Mellow Tone and Thirteen Floor. It's uncertain if any audio or video of these numbers has survived.

Off topic note:
In 1964 Gillespie put himself forward as a presidential candidate. If he were elected, the White House would be renamed The Blues House, and a cabinet composed of Duke Ellington (Secretary of State); Miles Davis (Director of the CIA); Max Roach (Secretary of Defense); Charles Mingus (Secretary of Peace); Ray Charles (Librarian of Congress); Louis Armstrong (Secretary of Agriculture); Mary Lou Williams  (Ambassador to the Vatican); Thelonious Monk (Travelling Ambassador), and Malcolm X (Attorney General). His running mate would be Phyllis Diller.

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