VOICES Notes and news on Jazz releases
12 APR 10 ANNE FARNSWORTH
In 1961, Ray Charles was at the height of his powers, topping the charts with R&B, gospel and country hits. He was also conquering the world of jazz. Genius + Soul = Jazz, featuring an ensemble comprised of musicians from the Count Basie Orchestra and top arrangers, is an incredible 2-disc collector's edition, beautifully packaged with the original liner notes and new commentary.
With an eye-popping 37 tracks, this is the definitive Ray Charles. Four of his important LPs are remastered and included -- beside Genius + Soul, there's My Kind Of Jazz, Jazz Number II and My Kind Of Jazz Part 3. The original album covers are a cool inclusion in the accompanying booklet, a blast back to the era of the original hipsters.
Quincy Jones may be the most famous arranger on these sides, but Teddy Edwards, Ralph Burns, Alf Clausen and Roger Neumann are giants as well. Taken as a whole, the collection recalls Charles' famous 3-act concerts when Ray led his small group with the Raylettes in tow, followed by the stylish swing of The Ray Charles Orchestra. Where else would you find the funkified "Booty Butt" and "Sidewinder" rubbing shoulders with the elegantly orchestral "Metamorphosis" and "Our Suite"?