Mediagraphy - Discography - Trackography - Videography - Gigography - Biography - Chronology

03 September 2010

Ray Charles Is In Town - Chronology 1996


Playing the bus driver in Spy Hard. See this.
Recording (for Friendship album?) with Steven Johannessen.
January 1996
Release of album Strong Love Affair.
Ad in Vibe, March 1996.

13 January 1996
Pressebal, Berlin.
Tom Fowler, Peter Turre, Ray Charles. Photo: Getty Images.

14 January 1996
Barbados Jazz Festival.

18 January 1996
With Peter Nero for a Florida Philharmonic Pops benefit at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale FL; also read this.

19 to 21 January 1996
Symphony gig at the Mark G. Etess Arena (in the Trump Taj Mahal), Atlantic City NJ. The show on the 19th was taped from the audience (cf. this).

9 February 1996
At opening of America's Smithsonian exhibition national tour celebrating the Smithsonian's 150th anniversary, in Los Angeles.
Secretary I. Michael Heyman (second from right), Ray Charles (left) and two unidentified persons attend the opening ceremonies.

10 February 1996
Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Knoxille TN Saturday Night Pops Concert, at Knoxville Civic Coliseum; tickets $15-$22.

12 February 1996
Photo opportunity at the Hotel Ritz and concert in Paris FR. Photos here and here

13 February 1996
With Henri Salvador at Victoires De La Musique, at the Palais des Congrès, Paris FR. See this.

24 February 1996
Annual Heart Gala at The Peabody; seats at $200.

March 1996
Photos from a shooting - for the French documentary Envoyé Spécial (see this), in LA - by Frederic Reglain in March 1996 (Getty). Partially first published in Der Spiegel, May 6, 1996.


3 March 1996
Easter Seal Fundraiser Event, Pasadena. See this.

4 March 1996
25th annual fund-raiser for the Easter Seal Society, Pasadena ("His rendition of Oh What a Beautiful Morning helped the group raise $25,043,458, a record").

20 March 1996
On the Late Show. See this.

28 and 29 March 1996
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington DC, with national Symphony Orchestra.

April 1996
Easter Seal's Telethon. See this.

3 April 1996
Florida Philharmonic Pops benefit at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Miami FL; with Peter Nero.

6 April 1996
Honoring Quincy Jones at 27th NAACP Image Awards at Civic Auditorium in Pasadena (aired 23 April). See this.

15 April 1996
On Sesame Street. See this.

22 April 1996
Concert in San Francisco.

23 April 1996
Interviewed by Michael Lydon at RPM studio in LA.

27 April 1996
At The Bushnell in Hartford ("As a high priest or pope of pop, Ray Charles transforms his concerts into ritualized events graced with venerated material from his canon of soulful hits. Decked out in one of his trademark iridescent jackets - truly a coat of many colors - the grand patriarch of hipness added a few varied touches to his usual rituals [...]"); tickets at $24.50-$49.

12 May 1996
Proclaimed honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Occidental College, Eagle Rock, LA ("How sweet it is!'' Charles said after receiving an honorary doctorate of music Sunday from Occidental College in Los Angeles. In a few more sentences the blues legend instructed graduates to "keep moving',' and then was whisked off campus in a golf cart. "I'm not very much of a talker,'' he said afterward"). See this. Photos here.

15 May 1996
Ray Charles on Envoyé Spécial. See this.

Early June 1996
Aspen Jazz Festival, Aspen.
Photo: Aspen Times.

2 June 1996
Interviewee in America's Music: The Roots of Country (air date). See this.
At Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Gala at the Sheraton New York.
Shaking hands with Paul Anka.
4 June 1996
Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix AZ.

5 June 1996
Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay, San Diego CA ("launched into a soaring falsetto that rose up to, and then above, the swelling, four- trumpet orchestration. It was a magical, concert-defining moment, even if (or, perhaps, precisely because) Charles executed it with characteristic nonchalance").

6 June 1996
Jazz at the Center, Performing Arts Center, Orange County, Orlando FL.
Concert at Orange County Peforming Arts Center, maybe from this date. Photo by Adrienne Helitzer.

7 to 9 June 1996
Circus Maximus, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. See this.

15 June 1996
 With Van Morrison at the Wembley Arena in London UK ("In stark contrast with Morrison, Brother Ray's entourage exude a practised, swinging professionalism harking back to The Apollo, Harlem, 1962, rather than Las Vegas, as some have mistakenly suggested. Less churchy and wild than when he set the Fifties R&B world on its ear by using a large, permanent horn section and gospel tunes to presage Sixties soul, Charles's show holds fast to the basis of an older-style R&B show. His all-seated big band warmed up with four songs by Barbara Morrison, a jazz-blues singer, before Charles's still extraordinary voice - rich tone, phrasing so subtle it's easy to miss and an armoury of expressive whoops and screams - took command. He did the hits, such as Busted, Georgia and I Can't Stop Loving You, but just as rewarding were the idiosyncratic treatments, turning Oh, What A Beautiful Morning, Rodgers/ Hammerstein's waltz from the musical Oklahoma into a jazz-blues celebration. He even found a way for the Raelet[te]s to discover something new in that flogged mare of a Sixties soul staple Knock On Wood." Read this).

Tour poster.
Backstage pass.

Ray Charles and Van Morrison, UK, 19 June 1996; photo by Michael Putland.
Bill Wyman in a 2011 interview: "There's certain jazz records we cannot go near, you know, because we don't have the quality. I'll give you an example. I met Ray Charles, and chatted for half an hour after a wonderful concert in London in the '90s. He invited me to play on his next album playing bass. I said, "I can't. I'm not good enough to play with you, Ray." I'd love to, but I can't get there. And I turned it down because I know my limits. You could use genius technical bass players, but I'm not that guy. I don't play like that. I don't follow rigorous formats or anything. I'm just looser than that. I'm more like Duck Dunn who is quite the player from the Booker T. band. I'm not technically clever so it scared the shit out of me to be asked by Ray Charles to play for him. I would have adored it but I just knew I didn't have the chops."

17 June 1996

Photos: Getty Images.
With Van Morrison at The Point Theatre in Dublin IE.The concert was taped from the audience; cf. this.

19 June 1996
With Van Morrison at the Wembley Arena in London UK (bootlegged) See this and this.

21 June 1996
With Van Morrison at Nec Nynex Arena in Manchester UK. That night a van with all equipment, sheet music and stage clothes of the Ray Charles Orchestra is 'nicked' from outside their hotel in Castleton, Greater Manchester. "Raid leaves singer Ray feeling blue" the Sunday Mirror reports.
"A police spokesman said: 'Mr Charles is most concerned', People (London) added. A day later they reported: "The thieves later dumped instruments, stage equipment, clothing and sheet music worth GBP 150,000 which had been left inside the van. But the van itself is still missing." The concert was taped from the audience; cf. this.

22 June 1996
On Saturday Live, London UK. See this.

23 June 1996
With Van Morrison at National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The concert was taped from the audience; cf. this.

24 June 1996
With Van Morrison at NEC Arena in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne UK. Photos here. The concert was taped from the audience; cf. this.

26 June 1996
Weserstadion, Bremen DE.

Photos by Ingo Wagner.

27 June 1996
For over 15,000 fans at the Halle Tony Garnier in Lyon FR.

28 June 1996
Palais des Congrès, Paris FR.

Coll. Jean Francis Merle.
3 July 1996
Ray at Starlite Revue in the Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis TN (WDIA benefit show).

Just before 4 July 1996
Band rehearsals in Orléans for Lugano concert with Barbara Morrison.

4 July 1996
In Lugano at the Estival Jazz, in the Piazza Della Riforma; with Barbara Morrison (bootlegged). See this.

Later in July 1996
Headlining the Cahors Blues Festival.

3 July 1996
Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis TN.

4 July 1996
Piazza della Riforma, Lugano CH.

5 July 1996
Park of Selinunte, near Palermo in Sicily, with Renzo Arbore and his Orchestra and Ray Charles - canceled because local authorities feared that he that hordes of fans would devastate the archaeological park. Cf. this.

6 or 7 July 1996 
On stage with Renzo Arbore during their concert in Positano, near Naples. Photo here. See thisReview here.
After performing O Solo Mio with 11 members of Renzo Arbore's orchestra.

Around this date in 1996
Lent Festival, Maribor (with Barbara Morrison). Televised; see this.

Lent Festival, Maribor.

9 July 1996
Cirkusbygningen, Copenhagen DK.

Photos by Jan Persson.
(The Raelettes; probably shot in Copenhagen, from the same series).

14 July 1996
Piazetta, Portofino IT. Televized on Channel 5 and Fininvest channels.

19 to 21 July 1996
Sporting Club Monte Carlo, Monaco MC.

Around this date in July 1996
Festival de Jazz, Fort Médoc.

Photos by Jacques Merle.
Around this date in July 1996
Festival Theatre, Carcassone.

Théâtre de la Cité, Festival de Carcassone. Photo by Alain Machelidon.

23 July 1996
Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta GA.

25 July 1996
Palace Theater, Myrtle Beach SC.

26 July 1996
Private Function, Roswell.

27 July 1996
Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta GA. "We were the first concert [...] after the bombing," trombone player Steve Sigmund remembers. "We had to go thru tremendous security. They took us and our bus to a warehouse before we were allowed in the park with our gear and they went through EVERY case and instrument before clearing to go to the park." Also cf. this.

Photo's by Jill Kettles.

28 July 1996
Re-located due to bomb scare from Forsyth Park, to Savannah Civic Center, Savannah GA.

30 July 1996
Grand Casino Biloxi, Biloxi MS.

31 July 1996 
Or Olympic Park, Fort Wayne ("brought the house down").

2 August 1996
Sam's River Town Palace Arena, Robinsonville MS; tickets $21.50.

3 August 1996
Strand Theatre, Shreveport LA.

4 August 1996
Closing ceremonies at Woodruff (Wonder Root) Arts Center in Atlanta GA for Olympic Summer Games (NYT tv critic: "Constant replays of Ray Charles singing 'America' have accomplished the unthinkable: never wanting to hear him sing it again").

6 August 1996
Newport Jazz festival, Newport RI.

8 August 1996
Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach.

9 August 1996
Harborlights/FleetBoston Pavilion, Boston MA ("When they put together the final list of the Atlanta Olympics' real winners, Ray Charles should be tucked into that roster somewhere between Shannon Miller and the Dream Team. [...H]is show for an audience of 2,650 was typical of Charles' area performances over the last few years. His one-hour set was tasty and smooth, rollicking in some places, greasy with blues in others").

10 August 1996
Radio City Music Hall, New York City NY, with Cassandra Wilson; tickets at $31-$41. The concert was taped from the audience; cf. this.

11 August 1996
Warwick Musical Theatre, Warwick RI.

13 August 1996
Private concert at Wells Fargo (CoreStates) Center, Philadelphia PA.

14 August 1996
Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket CT,

13 August 1996
Corestates Center, Philadelphia PA.

17 August 1996
Madison Theatre, Peoria IL.

18 August 1996
Starlight Theatre, celebrating Swope Park's 100th birthday (Ray Charles Day proclaimed in Kansas City and Independence).

19 August 1996
With James Brown at the Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk NY for Paul Simon's seventh annual Back to the Ranch benefit; tickets $35.

21 August 1996
Abravanel Hall, Salt Lake City UT.

22 August 1996
Palace Theater at Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach SC.

23 to 25 August 1996
Caesar's Tahoe, Stateline NV. 

28 August to 1 September 1996
Circus Maximus, Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas NV

2 September 1996
Private Function, Aspen.
Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood CA.

4 September 1996
American Airlines Jazz at the Bowl: An Evening With Ray Charles, at the Hollywood Bowl, LA; with Gerald Albright ("was more about his distinctive pop style than it was about swing, bop or musical improvisation").
Photo by Donald Dietz.

6 September 1998

Island Green Country Club, Staten Island NY, with Hudson Valley Philharmonic.

7 September 1996
Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, Kelseyville CA.

8 September 1996
Flint Center for the Performng Arts, Cupertino CA.

10 September 1996
Humboldt State University’s Van Duzer Theatre in Arcata CA.

11 September 1996
Redding Convention Center, Redding CA.

13 September 1996
Britt Festivals at Britt Amphitheater, Jacksonville OR.

14 September 1996
Sokol-Blosser Winery, Portland OR; tickets at $32.50.

15 September 1996
Chateau Ste Michelle Amphitheatre, Woodinville WA; tickets at $29.50-$37.50.

16 to 27 September 1996
Seven sold-out concerts on tour of Brazil (a.o. Ilha Shopping, Florianópolis).

22 September 1996
Inducted in Georgia Hall of Fame (together with Gladys Knight and James Brown; Ray most probably did not  attend).

24 to 27 September 1996
Bourbon Street Music Club, São Paulo BR.

5 October 1996
With the Delaware Symphony Orchestra in Wilmington.

9 October 1996
On the John Larroquette Show. See this.

12 or 13 October 1996
Passport to the World, a fund-raising gala dinner-dance-concert, Newark.

17 October 1996
  Headlines the Coca-Cola Tbilisi Jazz Festival, giving a concert at the State Concert Hall (a.k.a. the State Philharmonic Complex). According to local sources accompanied by the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra (but in fact with the complete Ray Charles Orchestra). See this.

Between 18 and 21 October
Big band gig just outside Frankfurt.
In concert at the Warsaw Jazz Jamboree with his rhythm section and a local philharmonic orchestra. See this.
Skopje Jazz Festival, with Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra (mostly consisting of amateurs - Peter Turre: "What they lacked in technique they more than made up for in joyous spirit. People were friggin' crying, on stage, AND off").

22 October 1996
Sava Centar, Belgrade (televized and audio-bootlegged). See this.

November 1996
Gig with city symphony orchestra at Teatro Cervantes and Echegaray in Malaga ES.

30 November 1996
Honored at halftime of Bayou Classic between Southern and Grambling in New Orleans LA.

1 - 15 December 1996
Japan tour.

Cover and spreads from Japanese souvenir program.

Mark Curry, Ted Murdock, John Bailey, Ken Scharf (trumpet); Steve Sigmund, Mike Guerrier, Sarah Morrow, Jason Jackson (trombone); Steve Elliot, Al Jackson (alto saxophone); Bill Waters, Rudy Johnson (tenor saxophone), James Farnsworth (baritone saxophone); Ernest Vantrease (organ), piano Kenny Carr (guitar), Curtis Ohlson (bass), Peter Turre (drums); The Raelettes (Estella Yarbrough, Kathy Mackay, Tonette Mckinney, Regina Brown, Karen Evans - backing vocals).

10 December 1996
 Ft. in Caesars Palace 30th Anniversary Celebration (airdate December 28th). See this.

31 December 1996
Fox Theatre, Stockton CA.


  1. Looking for a playlist from August 14 1996 concert at Fox Theatre at foxwoods resort/casino. Can anyone please help?

  2. I attended the July 28th, 1996 concert in Savannah, GA. and it was not at Forysth Park, as stated above. It was originally scheduled to be at the park, but it was they day after the Atlanta Bombing and they didn't think that they could secure the park enough to make it safe, so they moved it to the Savannah Civic Center.