Genius + Soul = Jazz
One of the signs of genius is the ability to make the difficult appear easy. Ray Charles was so prolific and covered so many genres he appears nearly inhuman. From his R+B beginning, to the legendary country and western offerings, he created one classic after another. And while his jazz sides might not be as well known as the vocal work, it’s not due to lack of quality. This reissue collects all three Genius + Soul =Jazz albums, recorded in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and in it you find him moving from Count Basie-like big band to Jimmy Smith B3-ish “soul jazz” as if he played it exclusively. Take a cut like “Booty Butt”… it’s got Beastie Boys sample written all over it. Big, funky horns, slinky guitar, and the nimble keyboards of Charles. Granted, these aren’t the improvisational flights of a John Coltrane or the compositional anarchy of Charles Mingus, but Brother Ray tops them all in soulfulness. Jazz has always been cool — but rarely has it been as hot as when Ray Charles did it.
Concord Music Group: www.concordmusicgroup.com