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03 September 2010

Ray Charles Is In Town – Chronology 1995




At RPM Studio, with  RPM, LA, Jean-Pierre Grosz and Terry Howard.

1995
Ray Charles Playing High Stakes In Cyberspace. See this.
Ray Charles live at Orléans' Jazz. See this.
Orléans Jazz Fest. Photo by Didier Depoorter.
Performing at The Festival Della Canzone Italiana Di Sanremo (televized, bootlegged). See this.

6 January 1995
On the Parade Of Stars. See this.

7 January 1995
Live at Parade Of Stars Telethon, recorded at CBS Studios, Hollywood; see this.
On  Super Dave's Vegas Spectacular (air date; see this).

18 February 1995
University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts benefit, Lexington (dubbing for Natalie Cole).

19 February 1995
Ft. In Aretha Franklin: Going Home (air date). See this.

25 February 1995
Sanremo, festival. See this.

21 March 1995
Sanremo; aired by Rai Uno.

2 April 1995
The Arthritis Foundation Telethon at Fiesta Texas and aired on KENS-TV and WGRZ-TV (Channel 2); with Lee Greenwood, B.J. Thomas, Amy Grant, Gladys Knight and the Righteous Brothers. See this

8 April 1995
North Carolina Azalea Festival, Trask Coliseum at University of NC, Wilmington (dubbing for Aretha Franklin; "he simply delivered an evening of extraordinary music"; read review here).


20 April 1995
Hilton, San Francisco at fund-raising event ($1,000 per seat).

27 April 1995
Palasport di Casalecchio in Reno; aired on Canale 5. See this.

30 April 1995
New Orleans, Jazz & Heritage Festival, at UNO Lakefront Arena  (there's an audience taped dated 1995/04/31 [sic!], but this source mentioning April 30 is often accurate).  Other sources specify 9 and 19 April for this festival gig; photo sources are also conflicting (so there probably were at least 2 events in New Orleans around this time...). Photo by Dick Waterman here.




Photo by Michael P. Smith [probably not taken at this festival; note it's mirrored!].
Photos by Robert Whitall Jr.
8 May 1995
American Jazz Philharmonic changes name of its annual celebration from Irving Berlin Birthday to Henry Mancini Party, toasting the late composer. "The Jazz Philharmonic party this year celebrated the music of Harold Arlen, who would have been 90. Jack Elliott, director, intro'd multitalented host Ray Charles and pianist (extraordinaire) Stan Freeman. Among those warbling Arlen's tunes for the select group were: Tony Martin, Hal Linden (fresh from his Daytime Emmy win) , Nancy Reed (Kanter), Pat Gelbart, Steven Davis and Daryce Richman. The entire group of guests joined on Arlen songs including It's Only A Paper Moon, I've Got The World On A String, Off To See The Wizard and Black Magic, plus Over The Rainbow" (source here).

20 May 1995
Paramount Theatre, Oakland.

24 May 1995
Kansas City Symphony at the Municipal Auditorium; tickets at $16, $32 and $45.

31 May 1995
Sold-out crowd at The House of Blues, West Hollywood.

June 1995
At The Horatio Alger Awards TV Special. See this.

1 June 1995
Humphrey's, Shelter Island, San Diego.

3 June 1995
Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, Kelseyville.

6 June 1995
Caesar's Circus Maximus Theater, Atlantic City.

11 June 1995
Parque do Ibirapuera, São Paulo (see this).

12 - 13 June 1995
Bourbon Street Music Club, São Paulo.

16 to 18 June 1995
Caesars Circus Maximus Theater, Caesars Atlantic City.

22 June 1995
Storrs, Jorgensen Auditorium, Connecticut ("Looking every inch a king of soul in his fluorescent green jacket and cool dark shades, Ray Charles gestured as though he were embracing the audience welcoming him with a standing ovation as he made his grand entrance [...]. Throughout the evening, the crowd at Storrs embraced the high-energy, maestro with applause as he sat enthroned at his electric piano. There he belted out vocals with his big band or rollicked and rolled with saucy call and response riffs [...]"; read this).

23 and 24 June 1995
 JVC Jazz Festival, Avery Fisher Hall, New York, co-billed with Maceo Parker ("With any performer, particularly one who is regularly labeled a genius, expectations will not always be met; overfamiliarity is as ravaging as time. What we get, and what we deserve, is Sinatra misreading his cue cards, Ella onstage in her wheelchair and Ray Charles recycling himself with ever-diminishing returns").

25 June 1995
Hampton Coliseum.

28 June 1995
Peace Center Greenville, SC (bootlegged). See this.

29 June 1995
Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

July 1995
Concert in Orléans. See this.

1 July 1995
Atlanta, Southern Star Amphitheatre.

4 July 1995
Orléans.

5 July 1995
Swing In Deauville festival.

6 July 1995
Strasbourg.

7 July 1995
Palais des Congrès, Paris., Paris. See this.

8 July 1995

A fragment of the Vienne concert in this news item.


Jazz à Vienne at Théâtre Antique.
Photo (c) Retna.

11 July 1995
Umbria Jazz, Bari.

12 July 1995
Pescara.

14 July 1995
At the Piazzetta in Portofino (broadcast on July 16th, by Canale 5; see this).

15 July 1995
Festival Paléo, Nyon.
 
*Same day:*
At the Piazzetta in Portofino ("Triumphal entry [...] dazzling smile, a pair of avant garde design spectacles [...], an incredible floral tuxedo". The show aired on the 16th. See this.

17 July 1995
Jazz à Juan.

25 or 26 or 27 July 1995
Haifa Blues Festival.

30 July 1995
Coors Light Riverfront Stadium Festival, Cincinnati.

August 1995
 Shooting for Honda commercial in Los Angeles. See this.


At the set. Photos by James Aylott

4 August 1995
McEnery Convention Center in San Jose.

7 August 1995
Press conference in Auch, southwestern France, before performance at the Marciac Jazz Festival which Charles said would be his last concert in Europe. Photos here. Also read this (in French). Aired by French TV on October 7; see this.
Coll. Joël Dufour.
According to their captions, these photos were made in Marciac, but on July 22nd...
 8 August 1995
Wolf Trap Filene Center, Vienna.

10 August 1995
Westbury Music Fair, New York (bootleg circulating).

11 August 1995
JVC Newport Jazz Festival at Newport Casino; with Carol Sloane.

12 August 1995
Concert somewhere in France (or was this in July?).

13 August 1995
North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly.

30 August 1995
Opening of Bloomingdal's outlet, Skokie; benefit at $150 per ticket. ("If you pay him, he plays," Bob Abrams explained. "If you don't pay him, he won't play.").

31 August to 3 September 1995
Caesars, Atlantic City.

7 to 9 September 1995
Tramps' 20th Anniversary Celebration, New York Concert. The concert(s) on the 9th was bootlegged. George E. Tait's review in the New York Amsterdam News (Sep. 23, 1995):
The Reverend Ray Charles still slammin'. 
 Night-time in New York. A cloudless sky of full moon clarity. Summer is still here, but the air sings, "Call me autumn cause I'm so cool." It's Sept. 9, and the great Ray Charles is featured at Tramps. People pile into standing-room only space to see the man who is called "The Genius." In semi-darkness, waitresses spin smiles around tables. Food and drink, talk and smoke: the clatter and chatter of clubtime culture. It's the 20th anniversary of Tramps and Ray Charles was chosen to commence the celebration. A stroke of genius.
 After the warm-up comedian ushered the audience through a half-hour of humorous material, it was time for Brother Ray. The audience waited as time passed. Although those sitting continued to jawbone and elbow-bend, the feet of those standing forced their toungues to speak out.
 First, a discord of disappointment, then, a din of disrespect. More waiting. Time knew how to pass the audience, but few knew how to pass the time. Soon the voice of restlessness became the venom of rage. More time passed. Then finally the band came on, without Ray, but under the capable quality control of music director/alto saxophonist Al Jackson and the keyboard cushion of Ernie Vantrease.
 `Woodie and Bu'
 The crowd quieted. The orchestra opened with a composition called "Woodie and Bu," a bright jazz romp with both an intricate and intriguing arrangement. Outstanding were the call and response exchanges of the ensemble and an exquisite solo by tenor saxophonist Rudy Johnson.
 After the selection received a stirring applause, Ray Charles himself was ceremoniously introduced and brought on to a rousing ovation of earsplitting cheers. Ray ritualistically stood front stage center, with smiling head thrown back, slightly swaying with hands on hips before outstretching his arms to the stratosphere. He absorbed the applause and then embraced its essence and energy.
 Seated at the piano (Vantrease switched to organ), Ray plunged deep into an uptempo song as the band lunged forward with symbiotic sophistication. The song was further dramatized by Ray's verbal gymnastics and body dialect.
 For his next song, Ray adroitly altered the mood and sang his hit "Busted," a western blues with a country accent. Next came his first signature song of the evening. Sometimes in the second spot, sometimes in the third, but invariably the one or the other: "Georgia." It is always included, same key, same tempo, same fundamental arrangement. But always different; always original, decade after decade. It is his most serious song.
 Each time he sings it, his face changes to a frozen blend of melancholy and mystery. A standard that has become a state anthem is still a private horror transformed to blues. His enunciation of the name "Georgia" shifts through somber subtleties of personal significance. Sometimes "Zhorgia," or "Gordia," or "Ghorja," or "Shor-cha," one hears the name and feels the meaning.
 Another favorite followed. Ray's vibrant version of "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" was additionally noteworthy for its time signature and tempo alternation between commontime stanzas and waltztime chorus. Brother Ray's trademark personalization of lifeless lyrics combined with original interpretations of outdated material consistently elevates the simplest song into the echelon of excellence and excitement.
 "Just For a Thrill" was Ray's dissertation on pain. He sang it with frostbitten tones supported by the sympathetic sounds of a broken-hearted band.
 When Ray sang "The Goodlife," he lasered the lyrics onto an acoustic screen so that everyone could "see" the good life. Ray became the consummate jazz singer, city-smooth and cosmopolitan, with urbanized inflections painting nocturnal skylines of downtown landscapes. His delivery danced in the debonair tempo of definitive swing.
 After two back-to-back blues songs, Ray brought out the Raylets and presented a clever cause and effect juxtaposition with the next two songs. First, The Rayless Raylets sang, "Guess Who I Saw Today" with harmony so perfect they could have been renamed "The Mills Sisters." The lyrics became both lush and luscious while the band intoned sound sculptures of intimacy and scintillating shapes of things to come. The "effect" of "Guess Who I Saw Today" was "Hit The Road Jack." Ray's updated version of his original hit was a marvel to behold. He interweaved music, monologue, dialogue, drama and sitdown comedy. Through it all, his timing remained impeccable, his musicality flawless, his title of genius justified.
 Ray's second signature song of the evening was his ground-breaking country and western classic, "I Can't Stop Loving You." As soon as he recorded it, the song opened up a global ear to country and western music, immediately lifting it out of the mire of disregard and into the mainstream of distinction.
 He closed, of course, with his inevitable tour-de-force finale: "What'd I Say," his third signature song.
 Speaking with Angela Woodman, an eight-year member of the Raylets, she expressed that "Ray is a perfectionist who caters to people's souls and is able to tap into them through the keys on the piano." She further stated, "Ray Charles is a forefather. He has his own sound. People try to imitate him. He stands out because of his unique trueness to himself regardless of the trends and pace of the music industry."
 Had the popular songwriting team in 1967 with the tune called "When I'm Sixty-Four" looked into the future and seen Ray Charles in action at Tramps, they would have changed the title. On Sept. 23, Ray Charles' 65th birthday, he heads for his next concert in Brazil.
 The depth of his soul inspired Aretha Franklin to call him "Reverend"; the scope of his behavior encourages many to call him crazy. Whatever he is called, he is nevertheless a genius and still slammin' after all these years.

Ray Charles and David Hoffman. Photo by Rahav Segev.

14 September 1995
Concert at the Mark of the Quad Cities in Moline.

24 September 1995
Interviewee in Rock & Roll (air date). See this.

24 to 28 September 1995
Air dates of documentary series, Dancing In The Street, A Rock And Roll History.
See this. Also known as The History of Rock 'N' Roll (see this and this).

6 October 1995
Universal Amphitheatre, Universal City ("Just when it seemed that Ray Charles was going to get through his entire show at the Universal Amphitheatre on Friday without speaking a single word to the audience, he had his 45-piece orchestra pause between songs and addressed that very issue"; review here).

13 and 14 October 1995
Harrah's Casino, Las Vegas.

21 October 1995
Aronoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati.

24 October 1995
Honored at sixth annual Governor's Awards in the Arts, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in LA, in a ceremony hosted by Gov. Pete Wilson.

28 October 1995
Landmark Theater, with Richmond Symphony, Richmond.

November 1995
 Release of album Q's Juke Joint. See this.

14 November 1995
Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center - canceled.

18 and 19 November 1995
Dayton Philharmonic's SuperPops at Convention Center, Dayton.

19 November 1995
Performing at Sinatra: 80 Years My Way (aired 14 December). See this.


?December 1995?
Tour in Japan?
1995 Japan Tour, souvenir brochure.

Photo taken in (mid?) 1990s, probably at RPM.

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