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15 July 2010

Ray Charles Cues Audience's Hand Clapping In Lugano (1986)

Leaning away from the microphone, Ray could often be seen (and vaguely be heard) giving his cues - calling out the number of the next song, or correcting a musician who was out of time, or playing too soft or too loud. Cf. this article about a band member who no longer accepted Ray's criticism, loudly protested, and on Ray's instigation was removed from stage.

On a few rare occasions, he also was quite straightforward in telling his audience what making live music was about. I already wrote about the incident where he bluntly refused to take requests. In this article I found a (bootlegged) soundbite from Ray's concert at the Estival Jazz In Lugano (see also this article), on 1 July 1986. He stopped for a few seconds while doing I'm Gonna Keep On Singin' with The Raelettes, and informed the audience - not too subtle - that he can't go on when they're clapping 'out of time'.
For more on Ray's tempi, read this.

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