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30 January 2010

Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music Volume 1 & 2 (1962)

A) Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music (April 1962)
  1. Bye Bye Love
  2. You Don't Know Me
  3. Half As Much
  4. I Love You So Much It Hurts
  5. Just A Little Lovin'
  6. Born To Lose
  7. Worried Mind
  8. It Makes No Difference Now
  9. You Win Again
  10. Careless Love
  11. I Can't Stop Loving You 
  12. Hey, Good Lookin'
Clipping from JazzTimes,
December 1994.*

Album: ABC/Paramount 410, April 1962.

Liner notes of original
With this album Ray Charles recorded a landmark album of soulful country & western music, single-handedly giving this genre mass appeal. Ray particularly loved the stories in these songs. I Can't Stop Loving You spent five weeks at #1 on the pop charts and 16 weeks at #1 on the R&B charts, and won the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording. Read the excellent essay on the huge impact and historical importance of this album on Wikipedia

The musicians' line-up for this album has - as far as I know - never been properly established. Traditionally, Hank Crawford is identified, on alto saxophone. trumpet player Al Porcino ("I used to get [Ray Charles] high on grass") was mentioned hereCarole Kaye remembers that Earl Palmer drummed on tracks #2 and #11. Members of Ray's big band may have been involved in the New York sessions. The (much stiffer) symphonic strings and choir parts were no doubt done in Hollywood.
Arrangers: Gil Fuller (#3, 8), Gerald Wilson (#1, 5, 10, 12); Marty Paich (#2 ,4, 6, 9, 11). Sid Feller, Ray Charles – producers.
Recorded  on  5 and 7 February 1962 at Capitol Studios in New York City, and on 15 February at United Recording Studios in Hollywood.

The album was discussed in this entertaining radio show, the Matt Glaser Record Party - Episode#1, on BIRN1 (guest Jay Peterson) on July 29, 2012.

Soundclip Vol. 1 & 2:

* Photographer William Claxton's story (read the caption to the clipping) can't be accurate. The year (1962), the location ("Hollywood") and the anecdote about the harp point to ABC (not Atlantic), and probably to a recording session for Modern Sounds.

B) Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music Volume Two (October 1962)
  1. You Are My Sunshine
  2. No Letter Today
  3. Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)
  4. Don't Tell Me Your Troubles
  5. Midnight
  6. Oh, Lonesome Me
  7. Take These Chains From My Heart
  8. Your Cheating Heart
  9. I'll Never Stand In You Way
  10. Making Believe
  11. Teardrops In My Heart
  12. Hang Your Head In Shame
ray charles poster Pictures, Images and Photos
Recording with Sid Feller (from
album cover).
After Volume 1 of Modern Sounds sold more than a million copies, Ray Charles went back into the studio to record a second dozen of country songs.
Side 1 was recorded with his big band and The Raelettes, playing charts arranged and conducted by Gerald Wilson in New York. Side 2 features lush orchestral arrangements with a string section and charts arranged and conducted by Marty Paich in Hollywood. This 'sandwich' formula became a pattern for many later albums.
Side 1 (tracks #1 - 6) was recorded on 5 September 1962 in New York. The tracks of side 2 were taped in Hollywood on 7 September 1962.
Working with Hank Crawford; poss. at New York session. Photo by Howard Morehead. 
Ray Charles, Sid Feller, Gerald Wilson at New York (rehearsal?) session. Photo by Howard Morehead.
Margie Hendricks and Ray, prob. in New York (rehearsal session or real session). Photo by Howard Morehead
Marty Paich, Ray Charles, Joe Adams at the Hollywood session. Photo by Howard Morehead.

Photo by Howard Morehead @ United Studios in Hollywood, on September 7, with the Jack Halloran singers.

Remastering engineer Steve Hoffman commented on the photo above
"Notice the separation of the boys from the girls? On the "string side" recorded at United for C&W Volume 2, engineer Al Schmitt (unlike the first album by Bill Putnam) spread the chorus in stereo for those songs only (never again on any Ray recording, either). I never realized they were so close to Ray. The giant cavern echo makes it difficult to imagine the setup but that pic brings home the fact that everyone was close to each other so they could hear without headphones. Totally neat."
Hoffman also wrote that:
"On the 'string songs': the ones that were recorded by Bill Putnam in Feb. 1962 have the choir all the way over to the right and they sound like they are stuck behind a curtain for the most part. The string sound has echo that is rich and deep and Ray's vocal mic is slightly muted on the top end as to not to clash. This is typical of Bill Putnam's engineering style.
Now, the string songs that have the choir split in stereo, some on the right and some on the left were recorded in the same room at United later on in the year but Al Schmitt was the engineer. So if you want to tell the difference between the two, that's the easy way to tell. Al's mixes are more hi-fi (Take These Chains From My heart, Your Cheating Heart) but less charming than Bill Putnam's (You Don't Know Me, Born To Lose). Two different styles [of engineering] on the same material. Fun to compare [...]."
ABC/Paramount 435, October 1962.

Do The Twist! (aka The Greatest Ray Charles) (1961)

Promotional poster.
Atlantic sometimes went VERY far in exploiting their Ray Charles back catalog.
From Cashbox, Jan. 13, 1962.

Charles as well as Darin didn't accept
new contracts in 1959/1960, 
but Ahmet Ertegun "gave" 
both a "Twist" album in '61.
  1. Tell Me How Do You Feel
  2. I've Got A Woman
  3. Heartbreaker
  4. Tell The Truth
  5. What'd I Say
  6. Talkin' ‘Bout You
  7. You Be My Baby
  8. Leave My Woman Alone
  9. I'm Movin' On
Atlantic kept on trying to cash in on their former star artist. This was their most ruthless try - even calling this compilation album after the contemporary dance craze, and filling the back cover with detailed twist dance instructions. The album made it to #11 on the charts.

Atlantic 8054, November 1961.

The Genius Sings The Blues (1961)

  1. Early In The Mornin'
  2. Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)
  3. The Midnight Hour
  4. (Night Time Is) The Right Time
  5. Feelin' Sad
  6. Ray's Blues
  7. I'm Movin' On
  8. I Believe To My Soul
  9. Nobody Cares
  10. Mr. Charles' Blues
  11. Some Day Baby (Worried Life Blues)
  12. I Wonder Who (Ray's Blues)
This elpee was released by Atlantic as one of its cash-in albums after Ray split to ABC, but it ended up as one of Charles' best known compilations. From his first session with Atlantic to his last, this compilation showcased Ray Charles stylistic development as an artist, with a combination of piano blues, jazz, R&B, and (on I'm Movin' On) a first touch of C&W.

Atlantic 8052, September 1961 (1952 - 1959).

Ray Charles And Betty Carter (1961)

  1. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
  2. You And I
  3. Goodbye/We'll Be Together Again
  4. People Will Say We're In Love
  5. Cocktails For Two
  6. Side By Side
  7. Baby, It's Cold Outside
  8. Together
  9. For All We Know
  10. Takes Two To Tango
  11. Alone Together
  12. Just You, Just Me
From 1960 to 1962 Betty Carter frequently toured with the Ray Charles band. Ray loved her "free jazz voice". Since they were both signed to ABC Records, it was easy to record together (there's also a story that Miles Davis, who in early 1960 toured with Betty, suggested to Ray to take her under his wing, or - more specifically - do duets with her). "He asked me in Baltimore, in the hallway by the dressing rooms," Betty recalled in Pulse! "After he asked me, it got silent; I mean, he had Georgia going, a bi-iii-ig hit record; he didn’t need me. I went to his house to work on the tunes, and then went back to the hotel numb because I was really gonna do it. I learned the tunes by thinking about it more than practicing them; we didn’t go over anything more than one time, because I was capable of understanding everything he said to me about what to do and how to do it."
The pairing of their totally idiosyncratic vocal styles resulted in a beautiful album. Their sexy and funny rendition of Baby, It’s Cold Outside became a real classic.
Marty Paich's string/choir arrangements, as usual, sound a bit overdone, but his charts for the band are excellent.

Engineer Steve Hoffman shared his memories on a remastering session with Ray (here):
"I remember doing that session in the dark, just the glow of the equipment for illumination. Ray had called Betty Carter on the phone that morning for a chat, then he was reading Esquire (Braille version) and Terry [Howard] and I mucked around a bit with the sound presentation, finally backing off on most EQ altogether. We did the initial transfer and asked Ray what he liked or didn't like about it. He told me that it sounded better to him than he remembered and he liked that I didn't try to boost the treble on the orchestra. I told him that a treble boost would have made their voices sound unnatural and also brought up the tape hiss so it would never be a good idea on intimate music like that. He agreed, thanked me, listened for a while and nodded. I have a feeling he had not heard that material in a long, long time. He was very sensitive to the fact that the ABC-Paramount LP sold about eight copies initially and always felt that the album was unjustly neglected over the years."
Hank Crawford - alto saxophone; David Fathead Newman - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Bill Pittman - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass; Mel Lewis, Bruno Carr - drums; The Jack Halloran Singers - background vocals; Marty Paich - arranger, conductor; Sid Feller - producer.
Recorded at United Studios, Hollywood on June 13-14, 1961. ABC/Paramount 385, 1961-07.

For more details, and Betty's side of the story, read this. Here's an interview with Betty Carter by Bill King (1988):

29 January 2010

The Genius After Hours (1961)

  1. The Genius After Hours
  2. Ain't Misbehavin'
  3. Dawn Ray
  4. Joy Ride
  5. Hornful Soul
  6. The Man I Love
  7. Charlesville
  8. Music, Music, Music
Ray Charles plays five numbers with a trio (three of them with Oscar Pettiford on bass) and jams on three other tunes (Hornful Soul, Ain't Misbehavin', and Joy Ride) with a septet arranged by Quincy Jones. The solos are for David Newman on tenor and alto, and trumpeter Joe Bridgewater.  #6 and 8 were recorded on 30 April 1956; #2, 4 and 5 were recorded on 20 November 1956, #3, #1 and 7 on 12 September 1957 - all in New York.

David Fathead Newman - tenor and alto saxophone; Emmett Dennis - baritone saxophone; Joe Bridgewater, John Hunt - trumpet; William Peeples - drums; Oscar Pettiford, Roosevelt Sheffield - bass. Septet tunes arranged by Quincy Jones.

Atlantic 1369, 1961-06 (1956, 1957).


Genius + Soul = Jazz (1961)

  1. From The Heart
  2. I’ve Got News For You
  3. Moanin’
  4. Let’s Go
  5. One Mint Julep
  6. I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town (Clark Terry, on intro - tp, Billy Mitchell - ts)
  7. Stompin' Room Only
  8. Mister C (Urbie Green - tb)
  9. Strike Up The Band
  10. Birth Of The Blues
Issued on ABC Records’ legendary Impulse jazz label, the record was a surprising success on the pop and R&B charts. It climbed to the #4 spot on Billboard’s pop album chart. I've Got News For You, rose to #8 R&B and #66 on the Hot 100. One Mint Julep charted #1 R&B and #8 pop (Ray's first instrumental hit). I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town reached #25 R&B and #84 pop. 

Tunes #1 - 3, 7 - 9: 
Ray Charles played the Hammond C3** organ (prepared by Rudy Van Gelder). Seven of the tracks were instrumentals. Other musicians: Philip Guilbeau (all trumpet solos), Thad Jones, Joe Newman, Clark Terry, Eugene (Snooky) Young - trumpets; Henry Coker, Urbie Green, Al Grey, Benny Powell - trombones; Marshall Royal, Frank Wess - alto saxophones; Frank Foster, Billy Mitchell - tenor saxophones; Charlie Fowlkes - bariton saxophone; Freddie Green - guitar; Eddie Jones - bass; Sonny Payne - drums.
Set of 5 33 1/3 'singles' for jukeboxes
(Impulse A2S1 - 5).

Tunes #4 - 6, 10:
John Frosk, Jimmy Nottingham, Philip Guilbeau (all trumpet solos except intro #6), Clark Terry (trumpet solo on intro of #6), Joe Wilder - trumpet; Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green, Keg Johnson, George Matthews - trombone; George Dorsey, Earle Warren - alto saxophone; Budd Johnson, Seldon Powell - tenor saxophone; Haywood Henry - bariton saxophone; Sam Herman - guitar; Joe Benjamin - bass; Roy Haynes - drums.

Creed Taylor on Ray Charles' organ on Genius + Soul = Jazz: "Rudy [Van Gelder] did some adjusting on the inside so the keys had a more percussive effect than a normal one. It was a Hammond B3 doctored by Rudy. He had done this on organs before for other recording dates. The result was a more definite attack than a normal organ."

Quincy Jones (#1, 3, 5, 6, 9), Ralph Burns (#2, 4, 7, 8, 10) - arrangers; Creed Taylor - producer. Quincy hired Clark Terry to "contract the date", i.e. to choose the musicians. Guilbeau was Ray's own choice.
* Based on notes by Joël Dufour. **C3 in stead of B3: read this.

Genius + Soul = Jazz (pron. Genius Plus Soul Equals Jazz) was recorded at the Van Gelder Studios in Englewood Cliffs, on 26 and 27 December 1960. Album: Impulse 2, February 1961.
Phil Ramone later remembered (erroneously?) that he also recorded Ray for this album at A&R Studios in NYC.

The complete album:

For more details, read Ashley Khan's The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records (New York, 2006).

Soul Meeting (With Milt Jackson) (1957 - 1958)

  1. Hallelujah I Love Her So 
  2. Blue Genius
  3. X-Ray Blues
  4. Soul Meeting
  5. Love On My Mind
  6. Bags Of Blues
Atlantic found some more unreleased Ray Charles material in their vaults. They released this album from the 1957 and 1958 sessions that Ray recorded with Milt, the star vibraphonist of the Modern Jazz Quartet. See this.

 #1, 2, 4, 5: Milt Jackson - vibraharp; Ray Charles - piano; Kenny Burrell - guitar; Percy Heath - bass; Art Taylor - drums.
#3:  Ray Charles - (to the end of guitar solo:) piano, alto saxophone, (after that:) electric piano;  Kenny Burrell - guitar; Percy Heath - bass; Art Taylor - drums.
#6:  Milt Jackson - vibraharp; Ray Charles - piano;  Billy Mitchell - tenor saxophone; Oscar Pettiford - bass; Connie Kaye - drums.

Tom Dowd - engineer; Jerry Wexler - producer.
Recording dates: Sep 12, 1957 - Apr 10, 1958.

Atlantic 1360, 1961-02 (1957 - 1958).

Dedicated To You (1961)

  1. Hardhearted Hannah
  2. Nancy (With The Laughing Face)
  3. Margie
  4. Ruby
  5. Rosetta
  6. Stella By Starlight
  7. Cherry
  8. Josephine
  9. Candy
  10. Marie
  11. Diane
  12. Sweet Georgia Brown
This - historically under-appreciated - album is dedicated to the girls. It combines a personal love song like Margie with funny big-band celebrations of Hardhearted Hannah and (an up tempo version of) Sweet Georgia Brown, with a light footed instrumental (Josephine), with a string studded rendition of Nancy, and with sublime interpretations of Stella By Starlight and Ruby. Marty Paich wrote the charts.

Hank Crawford - alto saxophone; David Fathead Newman - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Martin Banks, John Hunt (trumpet); Bill Pittman - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass; Irving Cottler - drums; Marty Paich - arranger, conductor. Uncredited: strings and (Jack Halloran?) Singers. Producer: Sid Feller.

Recorded at United Studios in Hollywood on August 23-24, 1960. ABC/Paramount 355, January 1961.

27 January 2010

Genius Hits The Road (1960)

  1. Alabamy Bound
  2. Georgia On My Mind
  3. Basin Street Blues
  4. Mississippi Mud
  5. Moonlight In Vermont
  6. New York's My Home
  7. California, Here I Come
  8. Moon Over Miami
  9. Deep In The Heart Of Texas
  10. Carry Me Back To Old Virginny
  11. Blue Hawaii
  12. Chattanooga Choo-Choo
This concept album was Ray’s first release on ABC. It featured the Ray Charles Orchestra, on a few tracks enhanced by symphonic string arrangements.
The album reached #9 on the pop album charts and scored a #1 hit single with Georgia On My Mind, which also won two Grammy Awards in 1960 for Best Performance by a Pop Single Artist and Best Performance Single Record or Track.

Liner notes (from UKrelease).
#2, 5, 8, 11: Milt Turner - drums; Edgar Willis - bass. #1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12: John Hunt, Marcus Belgrave, Martin Banks - trumpet; David Newman - tenor saxophone, Hank Crawford - alto saxophone, Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Milt Turner - drums; Edgar Willis - bass. The Raelettes: ft. Margie Hendricks (only on #10). #2, 5, 8, 11: strings and choir. Produced by Sid Feller; arranged and conducted by Ralph Burns*. Sid Feller delivered the second (speaking) voice in #9.

Recorded at Capitol Studios, New York on 25 ( #2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12) and  29 March (#1, 4, 6, 7, 10) 1960.

*In this remarkable interview Bob Brookmeyer revealed that he, subbing for Burns, in fact arranged #1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 12, and that Georgia On My Mind, and probably most of the remaining tracks, were charted by Al Cohn.
The conversion of Georgia's original string arrangement for the big band was probably done by Rene Hall.


ABC/Paramount 335, July 1960.

26 January 2010

The Genius of Ray Charles (1959)

Cover photo by Lee Friedlander.
  1. Let The Good Times Roll (tenor solo by David Newman)
  2. It Had To Be You (tenor solo by David Newman)  
  3. Alexander's Ragtime Band (trumpet solo by Marcus Belgrave)
  4. Two Years Of Torture (tenor solo by Paul Gonsalves)
  5. When Your Lover Has Gone (tenor solo by David Newman)  
  6. ‘Deed I Do (tenor solo by David Newman)  
  7. Just For A Thrill
  8. You Won't Let Me Go
  9. Tell Me You'll Wait For Me
  10. Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'
  11. Am I Blue
  12. Come Rain Or Come Shine 
This was the all-American pop album Ray Charles had always dreamed of recording, with a full orchestra and strings. Atlantic Records' VP Jerry Wexler stated in a 2005 interview that he had wanted to use the Genius title before, but had to hold back for two years: "[...] my partners dissuaded me – that is, Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun – they said, ‘Let’s not get so boastful.’ Finally, we all agreed that the album deserved the appellation so that’s how it came about."
The album won the 196r0 Grammy Award in the Pop category for Best Vocal Performance Album as well as the Grammy for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance on Let The Good Times Roll.

  From Ebony, March 1960. The location may be Phil Ramone's
A&R Studio at 112 West 48th St. in NYC.
(1 - 6): Ray Charles - piano and vocals; Clark Terry - trumpet; Ernie Royal - trumpet; Joe Newman - trumpet; Snookie Young - trumpet; Marcus Belgrave - trumpet; John Hunt - trumpet; Melba Liston - trombone; Quentin Jackson - trombone; Thomas Mitchell - trombone; Al Gray - trombone; Frank Wess - flute, alto saxophone and tenor saxophone; Marshall Royal - alto sax; Paul Gonsalves - tenor sax; Zoot Sims - tenor sax; Billy Mitchell - tenor sax; David Fathead Newman - tenor sax; Allen Hanlon - guitar; Wendell Marshall - bass; Ted Sommer - drums; Jose Mangual (bongo drums on #3); Quincy Jones – arranger, conductor.
(7 - 12): Ray Charles - piano and vocals; Allen Hanlon - guitar; Wendell Marshall - bass; Ted Sommer - drums; Bob Brookmeyer - valve trombone; Harry Lookofsky - concertmaster; Unidentified - large woodwinds and strings section; Ralph Burns* - arranger. Recording engineers: Bill Schwartau and Tom Dowd.

* In this interview Bob Brookmeyer claims the arrangements for Just For A Thrill and You Won’t Let Me Go.

Promotional EP.
Recorded at Phil Ramone's A&R Studio in New York on 6 May, and - with Quincy Jones - on 23 and 26 June 1959. Atlantic 1312, 1959-10.
In 1959 Atlantic also released a promotional EP (#619) entitled The Genius Of Ray Charles, with Let The Good Times Roll / Come Rain Or Come Shine // Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin' / Alexander's Ragtime Band.

Youtube playlist: here.

What’d I Say (1959)

  1. What’d I Say
  2. Jumpin' In The Mornin
  3. You Be My Baby
  4. Tell Me How Do You Feel
  5. What Kind Of Man Are You
  6. Rockhouse
  7. Roll With My Baby
  8. Tell All The World About You
  9. My Bonnie
  10. That’s Enough 
Ray Charles got his first Top Ten pop hit and first Gold Record Award with the single What’d I Say - and it was only good marketing logic to name this studio album after it. In fact it was a compilation of What'd I Say (recorded on 18 February 1959) with a series of earlier tracks that were taped between 1952 and 1958 (see this).

Liner notes (from UKrelease).
Ray Charles – keyboards, vocals; David Newman – tenor saxophone, alto saxophone (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10); Emmett Dennis – baritone saxophone (3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10); Hank Crawford – baritone saxophone (1, 4); Marcus Belgrave – trumpet (3, 4, 8, 9); Lee Harper – trumpet (3, 8, 9); Ricky Harper – trumpet (5, 10); Joe Bridgewater – trumpet (5, 6, 10); John Hunt – trumpet (4, 6); Edgar Willis – bass (1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10); Roosevelt Sheffield – bass (6); Richie Goldberg – drums (3, 8, 9); William Peeples – drums (5, 6, 10); Teagle Fleming – drums (4); Milt Turner – drums (1); Mary Ann Fisher – vocals (5, 10); The Raelettes – (3, 5, 8, 9, 10); unknown – trumpet, saxophone, bass, drums (2, 7).
Atlantic 8029, 1959-09.

Yes Indeed! (1958)

  1. What Would I Do Without You
  2. It's All Right
  3. I Want To Know
  4. Yes Indeed
  5. Get On The Right Track Baby
  6. Talkin' 'Bout You
  7. Swanee River Rock (Talkin' 'Bout That River)
  8. Lonely Avenue
  9. Blackjack
  10. The Sun's Gonna Shine Again
  11. I Had A Dream
  12. I Want A Little Girl
  13. Heartbreaker
  14. Leave My Woman Alone
Tom Dowd introduced his new eight-track recording to Ray Charles for the sessions on this album. The Cookies did the backing vocals, and would soon become The Raelettes.

Ray Charles - piano, vocals, Joshua Willis - trumpet (1), Joe Bridgewater - trumpet (1, 6, 7, 9, 12), John Hunt - trumpet (2, 3, 5, 8, 14), Marcus Belgrave - trumpet (4, 11), Lee Harper - trumpet (4, 11), Ricky Harper - trumpet (6, 7, 12), Charles Whitley - trumpet (9), Jesse Drakes - trumpet (13), Don Wilkerson - tenor saxophone (1, 9), David Newman - tenor saxophone, alto saxophone (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14), Sam Taylor - tenor saxophone (13), Cecil Payne - baritone saxophone (1), Emmet Dennis - baritone saxophone (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8,11,12, 14), David Newman - baritone saxophone (9), Dave McRae - baritone saxophone (13), Wesley Jackson - guitar (9), Mickey Baker - guitar (13), Paul West - bass (1), Roosevelt Sheffield - bass (2, 3, 5, 8, 14), Edgar Willis - bass (4, 6, 7, 11, 12), Jimmy Bell - bass (9), Lloyd Trotman - bass (13), Panoma Francis - drums (1), William Peeples - drums (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 14), Richie Goldberg - drums (4, 11), Glenn Brooks - drums (9), Connie Kay - drums (13), The Cookies - vocals (3, 8, 14), The Raelettes - vocals (6, 7, 12), Mary Ann Fisher - vocals (6, 7, 12).
Atlantic 8025, 1958-10.

And Jimmy Giuffre played tambourine.


25 January 2010

Soul Brothers (With Milt Jackson) (1957, 1958)

Cover photo by Lee Friedlander.
  1. Soul Brothers
  2. How Long Blues
  3. Cosmic Ray
  4. Blue Funk
  5. 'Deed I Do
For his sessions with Ray Charles, Milt Jackson, the star vibraphonist of the Modern Jazz Quartet, also came with an electric guitar. Ray brought his saxophone. How Long Blues is the most extended example of Ray's sax playing on record. The album is a fine example of soul jazz.
#1:  Milt Jackson - piano; Ray Charles - alto saxophone;  Billy Mitchell - tenor saxophone; Skeeter Best - guitar; Oscar Pettiford - bass; Connie Kaye - drums.
#2:  Milt Jackson - vibraharp, (during Ray's sax chorus and Pettiford's 1st bass chorus:) piano; Ray Charles - alto saxophone, piano;  Billy Mitchell - tenor saxophone; Skeeter Best - guitar; Oscar Pettiford - bass; Connie Kaye - drums.
#3, 4, 5:  Milt Jackson - vibraharp; Ray Charles - piano; Billy Mitchell - tenor saxophone; Skeeter Best - guitar; Oscar Pettiford - bass; Connie Kaye - drums.

Engineered by Tom Dowd.
Recording dates: 12 September 1957, 10 April 1958. Atlantic 1279, 1958-06 (1957 - 1958).

Soul Brothers:

How Long Blues:

Cosmic Ray:

Blue Funk:

'Deed I Do:

The Great Ray Charles (1957)

  1. The Ray
  2. My Melancholy Baby
  3. Black Coffee
  4. There's No You
  5. Doodlin'
  6. Sweet Sixteen Bars
  7. I Surrender Dear
  8. Undecided
This was Ray’s first album that was produced as an album. It positioned Ray as a multi-styled musician, who was also able to tape some genuine jazz tracks, through a mix of trio and band sessions. In the liner notes Ray mentioned the four piano players who had most influenced him: Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Nat King Cole, and Oscar Peterson. Ray’s friend Quincy Jones penned the leadoff track, The Ray.
The recordings took place in New York, on 30 April (#3), 20 (#1, 6, 7) and 26 November (#2, 4, 5, 8)  1956.

Ray Charles - piano and (on I Surrender Dear) celeste; David Newman - alto and tenor saxophone; Emmott Dennis - baritone saxophone; Joe Bridgewater, John Hunt - trumpet; Roosevelt Sheffield, Oscar Pettiford - bass; William Peeples, Joe Harris - drums. Ernie Wilkins, Quincy Jones - arrangers.
Atlantic 1259, August 1957.

Billboard from 8 December 1956 (see clipping) had some good free publicity by Ahmet Ertegun, announcing "the first jazz LP with the versatile rhythm and blues warbler-pianist-maestro, Ray Charles", done "in the modern idiom", marking "the debut of a spectacular new alto man, known as Fathead".