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14 April 2010

Ray Charles On Duke Ellington... We Love You Madly (1973)

Ad in Billboard.

Photos taken during  rehearsals for the show(or was this taken 
at a rehearsal for the 1971 episode of the Merv Griffin Show?).
Duke Ellington... We Love You Madly was a tribute to Duke Ellington, recorded at the Shubert Theatre in Los Angeles, on 10 and 11 January 1973 in an ABC special (aired on February 11th). Ray performed I Like The Sunrise, and he did a breathtaking duet on Ain't But The One with Aretha. Both were also part of the chorus line in the opening act, where the whole cast united in It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), and Ray did a quatre mains with Count Basie.

 Exterior of a theatre advertising a screening of  the TV Special.
Photo by Ted Williams.
Cat Anderson, Bill Berry, Ernie Royal, Clark Terry, Cootie Williams, Snooky Young (tp); Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Cleveland, Tyree Glenn, Maurice Spears, Britt Woodman (tb); Vince DeRosa, Art Maebe, Dick Perissi (frh); Red Callender (tu); Harry Carney,

The producers and Atlantic played with the
idea to release an album (from
May 26, 1973). At the time they did'nt execute on
the idea, but the later "rare" Aretha track
discussed below was clearly made possible
because of this abandoned plan.
Harry Carney, Paul Gonsalves, Bill Green, Murray McEachern, Bill Perkins, Russell Procope, Jerome Richardson, Marshall Royal, Murray McEachern, Paul Gonsalves, Bill Perkins, Bill Green, Harry Carney (reeds); Count Basie (p); Dave Grusin (kb); Kenny Burrell (g); Ray Brown (b); Chuck Rainey (el-b); Louis Bellson, Paul Humphrey (d). Luther Henderson, Jimmy Jones, Phil Moore (arr); Quincy Jones (arr, cond); 4 violins, 12 violas, 4 violin cellos, 1 harp.

Ray Charles, Cornerstone Baptist Church Choir, Sammy Davis Jr., Billy Eckstine; Duke Ellington; Marva Cally, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams.

Cover of French VHS release.
Produced by Norman Lear and (exec) Quincy Jones, directed by Bud Yorkin. Phil Ramone was responsible for the sound mix.

Later Ray remembered, "[Ellington] was on an oxygen tank until they called him to come out onstage. But he went out there and you'd never have known there was anything wrong with the man. That's what music can do."

Read review here. Behind the scenes-photos are here. The show was released by RCA on VHS, in France (VRV 1124)*.

Quincy looking back:

It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (with Roberta, Sarah, Peggy, Count, Sammy, Billy, Quincy, Joe and Marva):

Ain't But The One (with Aretha) - this song was also released (in an altered version) on: Aretha Franklin, Rare & Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of Soul (Atlantic B00122MKI0):

   [Clip removed from YouTube]

*Remarks made by Joël Dufour. 

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