picture of Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Born Ray Charles Robinson on 23 September 1930 in Albany, Georgia, he was raised in Greenville, Florida, and started playing the piano before he was five. At age six, he contracted glaucoma that eventually left him blind. He studied composition (writing music in Braille) and learned to play the alto saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, and organ while attending the St. Augustine School for the deaf and the blind from 1937 to 1945. His father died when he was 10, his mother five years later, and he left school to work in dance bands around Florida, dropping his last name to avoid confusion with boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. In 1947, with $600 he moved to Seattle and worked as a Nat "King" Cole-style crooner.
In the decades after Seattle, Ray Charles continued his contributions to the many facets of music in which he excelled. His numerous awards include 8 honorary doctoral degrees, 17 GRAMMYs, the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, President’s Merit Award, Kennedy Center Honors, National Medal of the Arts and his Playboy Awards. Heads of State, Presidents, Political Dignitaries and members of Royal families have recognized him repeatedly. The King and Queen of Sweden chose him to receive the Polar Music Award, which is that country’s most prestigious award. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #10 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and #2 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. And in 2013 Ray Charles even received a United States Postal Stamp. One his warmest compliments came from the "Chairman of the Board" Frank Sinatra, who gave him the name "Genius", "the only true Genius in show business".
In 1986, Ray Charles formed The Robinson Foundation for Hearing Disorders, Inc., with a $1 million personal endowment. The Robinson Foundation for Hearing Disorders, Inc. later changed its name to The Ray Charles Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to providing support in the area of hearing disorders and the empowerment of young people through education by offering support to educational institutions and non-profit education programs. Ray Charles said: "The inability to hear is a handicap; not the inability to see." The vision of The Ray Charles Foundation is to instill in the youth of America that "there is no challenge too great one cannot overcome."
Ray Charles recorded the song America the Beautiful in 1972. In live performances he followed a consistent pattern of improvisations we associate with gospel and soul music. He added, "I’m talkin’ about America" and "I love America, and you should too", and "Sweet America", all passionate accents that indelibly marked the song as a personal tribute to the country he loved so much.
Ray Charles performed America the Beautiful on national and international world stages, all by popular demand. It remains one of Ray Charles’ most requested songs, first introduced at his stage show at Carnegie Hall with the unfurling of a giant American flag.
Ray passed away in June 2004.
from raycharles.com
homepage: www.raycharles.com
myspace www.myspace.com/raybanman01


Genius + Soul = Jazz.Live!
JZCD 310
recorded October 1961 in Paris/France
Ray Charles, organ, vocals
and his orchestra
Genius + Soul = Jazz
Impulse A2S
released 1961
recorded January 1961
Ray Charles, organ, vocals
Quincy Jones Big Band
Quincy's Got A Brand New Bag?
Mercury SR-61063
released 1965
recorded November 1965 in Los Angeles, CA/USA
Quincy Jones, conductor
Jackie Kelso, alto sax
Jerome Richardson, tenor sax
Jewel Grant, baritone sax
Erbie Green, trombone
Kenny Schroyer, bass trombone
Bobby Bryant, trumpet
Joe Newman, trumpet
Jerome Richardson, flute
Arthur Knight, guitar
Bobby Scott, piano
Michael Rubini, piano, organ
Ray Charles, piano, organ
Rene Hall, guitar
Ben Tucker, bass
Carol Kay, bass
Grady Tate, drums
Ray Barretto, bongos, congas
Gary Coleman, percussion
My Jug And I
Tangerine Records TRC-1505
released 1966
recorded in Los Angeles, CA/USA
Percy Mayfield, vocals
Ray Charles, organ, piano
no further details known
Porgy & Bess
RCA Victor CPL2-1831
released 1976

Ray Charles, vocals, piano, organ, celesta
Cleo Laine, vocals
Frank deVol, conductor
Ray Parker, guitar
Scotty Edwards, bass
Jimmie Smith, drums
Reverend James Cleveland Singers

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