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04 April 2010

Ray Charles Live At Montreux Jazz Festival 1991

(c) Keystone.

In 1991 Ray Charles performed two or three times at the Montreux Jazz Festival - on 16 and 17 July. Footage from his performances has been produced and released in several TV and DVD formats.
Information on Ray's performances on the 16th is here and here.

Information on what he did on the 17th is ambiguous and confusing. This is the best I can presently make of it:

The Concert Database of the Montreux Jazz Festival has a  description of Ray's concert on 17 July 1991, at the Casino. If it's also a full description, it was a very short (00:21:24) set.

Personnel: Ray Charles (p, voc), Greg Phillinganges (kbds), Nathan East (b), Grady Tate (dr), Frank B. Foster III (lead,arr,comp,ts), William "Bill" Hughes (b, tb), Mel Wanzo (tb), Bob Trowers (tb), Clarence Banks (tp), Melton Mustafa (tp, flh), Derick Gardner (tp, flh), Mike Williams (tp, flh), Bob Ojeda (tp, flh), John Williams (bts, bcl), Doug Miller (ts, fl), Danny Turner (as, pic), Manny Boyd (as, fl), Kenny Hing (ts, fl), Charlton Johnson (acc, b), George Cadwell (p), David Gibson (dr), Cleve Eaton (b), Chaka Khan (voc), Rachelle Ferrell (voc), Keith Washington (voc), Tevin Campbell (voc). This article describes the band as a combination of the Trio Phillinganges and the Count Basie Orchestra.

1. Alexander's Ragtime Band
2. Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma
3. One Mint Julep
4. My Buddy
5. Let The Good Times Roll
6. Spirit In The Dark (probably a duet with Chaka Khan)


Jazz On The Screen lists a (VHS? DVD?) release titled Festival De Jazz De Montreux 1991, directed by Gavin Taylor, et al., also featuring Ray, playing Without A Song. This information is probably corrupt; should it be Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma?)

According to this source there was a 125-minute video taping of or program around the festival's Gala Night, with Quincy Jones, George Benson, Toots Thielemans, Clark Terry, Henry Salvador, George Duke, Grady Tate, Al Jareau, Jon Hendricks, Chaka Khan, and Ray. I don't know if this gala was on the 16th or the 17th. If Ray performed during the gala, he in fact appeared three times on stage.

This 132-minute contains all of the above. At 1:10 Ray comes on stage (at 1:10) to perform the Look What They've Done...-version that I have described below, sub 7 and 8:
   [Clip was removed from YouTube]

I also found a TV production, entitled The 25th Montreux Music Festival, distributed by Disney Channel Productions Cable Network, a "special featuring performance highlights from the 1991 Montreux Music Festival", hosted by Al Jarreau, with Ray Charles in the line-up. This program may have entailed footage from any of Ray's performances on the 16th and/or 17th.

The Montreux festival editions of 1991, 1992 and 1993 were co-produced by Claude Nobs and Quincy Jones. Sony recorded the entire festivals in 1991 and 1992 in High-Definition Television. The DVD (full title: Quincy Jones & Claude Nobs Present: Montreux Jazz Festival 1991 & 1992; for sale here;  see cover above) offers a fine selection. Georgia On My Mind and My Buddy were released on Quincy Jones' 4-CD box Q, A Musical Biography (Rhino/WEA, 16 October 2001, ASIN: B00005Q3AD).

On 1 July 1995 Canal+ aired Best Of Montreux, with a selection from shows given between 1988 and 1993 by Booker T, Sam Moore, Elvis Costello, The Wailers, Kool & the Gang, Ray Charles, Was Not Was, Annie Lennox, Take 6, George Duke, Al Jarreau, and Fats Domino: "De l'inusable Ray Charles à la magnifique Annie Lennox (ex-Eurythmics), les géants d'hier et d'aujourd'hui nous offrent de belles prestations live. A visionner, pour une fois, en différé." Source here. This program may have contained footage from any of Ray's performances on the 16th and/or 17th. Who knows more?

This footage comes from any of the formats listed above.
Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma (Montreux, 17 July 1991); Quincy Jones conducts the band:
   [Clip was removed from YouTube]

Look What They've Done... was also the opener of a 1991 festival selection titled The Montreux Years - 1991. The program looked as if it was legit, with credits and all, but it probably wasn't.

For the set with George Benson and Chaka Khan on the 16th, read this article.

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