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12 April 2010

Ray Charles On Omnibus (1986)

Omnibus was an English award winning arts documentary series, produced by John Needham. The Ray Charles episode was first aired on October 31, 1986 (season 20, #19). It had all the expected stuff - interviews, an archive video clip from The Big T.N.T. Show, and footage of Big Joe Turner, Nat King Cole, Louis Jordan, Art Tatum, etc. - but it was mainly built up around a concert performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall (the show was part of the André Previn Music Festival II show)  on June 17, 1986, in London. The film was directed by Keith Cheetham (cf. this article). The interviewer was Charlie Gillett. The interview followed the usual lines of Ray's biography, influences, etc.

For the concert part Ray, as was usual with symphony gigs, brought his own rhythm section: Jeff Pevar was on guitar, Morris Pleasure on bass and Paul Kreibich on drums. 

The concert's setlist (in the order of the documentary):
  1. They Can't Take That Away From Me 
  2. If You Go Away
  3. (All I Wanna Do Is) Lay Around And Love On You 
  4. All I Ever Need Is You 
  5. It Ain't Easy Being Green 
  6. Georgia On My Mind
  7. Take These Chains From My Heart
  8. Yesterday 
  9. Outro
    Program book.  Ray Charles was a performing guest at the André Previn Music Festival II. The total festival series of concerts at the Royal Festival and Queen Elisabeth Halls was programmed from 15 to 29 June 1986.

    Jeff Pevar invented the guitar solo in the first clip below. This is what he added to his posting on Yahoo Video: 

    "This is from a concert performance we did with the Ray Charles Quartet at the Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Festival Orchestra in 1986. The quartet included myself on guitar, Paul Kreibich on drums and Morris Pleasure on bass. This is one of my most cherished videos that I am so proud of. Ray loved blues guitar and often reacted to a well placed stingy blues lick. That ended up being my nightly quest... to see if I could [persuade] the master to wriggle on his piano bench. On this particular event there were a lot of bulls-eyes. Enjoy and long live the spirit of one of the greatest musicians of our time. Mr Ray Charles. Sincerely, Jeff Pevar."
    DVD: Fastforward Music, NBD40144098, Omnibus series.

    Near complete film:

    (All I Wanna Do Is) Lay Around And Love On You (with Jeff Pevar):



    1. is there any way that i could find a copy of this programme? i don't even think the bbc holds it in the archives anymore. so desperate for a copy of this!

    2. Mr. Stumpel -- you have found/written about my absolute all-time favorite concert performance. I sent an email to you separately discussing, from my email address, Like Jamie, I am also desperately seeking a copy...!

    3. If anyone manages to get hold of the recording please let me know. I was at the concert in 1986 and would love to watch it.