Ray Sings, Basie Swings = Genius2

 
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sway
junior


Joined: 09 Jan 2005
Posts: 56
Location: Elevated.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:32 am    Post subject: Ray Sings, Basie Swings = Genius2 Reply with quote

I am thrilled to annouce that a brilliant album titled "Ray Sings, Basie Swings" was released by Concord Records today.

A stellar combination that should have happened years ago! As y'all may know, Ray Charles and Count Basie are no longer with us. This album was created using vintage Ray Charles archives (from a 1970s European tour - the height of his vocal recordings) - Ray vocals were then matched with the present-day Basie Orchestra using arrangements by Gregg Field (former drummer for both Basie and Ray). While the album lacks Basie's actual input, his spirit lives on through his orchestra bringing new life, and swing, to Ray's legendary vocals.

Check it out! Great opportunity for an exceptional new album. I will surely DJ this album, but I couldn't wait to share the joy! I don't know who's DJing free skate at the invitational, but... any chance you can sneak in some soul with a Ray Sings Basie Swings tune or two? Cool

Enjoy the view.

-Tara
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T_Roach
not all roaches are bad


Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 3547
Location: SLC

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a listen to that sweeeeeetness here.
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Trager
junior


Joined: 29 Jun 2006
Posts: 89
Location: 3/4 OC, 1/4 DC

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh bugger. I had this long, well thought out review and a connection glitch ate it. I am such a sad camper right now.

Anyway... my impressions of the album are not as positive as yours, unfortunately. Maybe the problem is the compression that the use with the iTunes store, but I kind of doubt it. Brother Ray is brilliant as always, but the new Count Basie Orchestra is kinda flat (also as always). As Fats Waller said, "If you gotta ask, you'll never know" -- and the new CBO just doesn't know. They're a decent big band (although there are much better ones out there these says, sadly), but they just don't swing much. And don't get me started on the faux Rayettes -- they need an infusion of chicken and waffles, stat!

It's especially evident on the handful of songs that should be eminently playable for swing dancers ("Busted" and "Let the Good Times Roll" come to mind). The rhythm section and melody are spot on together, nobody's sitting back and swinging the music. It's the subtle difference in timing betwen a lindy hopper, who sits back into the 'pocket' of the beat; and a west coast dancer, who's doing almost exactly the same steps, but performs them much more on top of the beat.

It's sad that the band that bears his name just doesn't really do honor to the Count anymore, IMO. If you're looking for that big late-Basie sound with a rhythm section that actually swings, I'd recommend the Gene Harris tribute (although it is ten years old or so) or the Nagel-Heyer New York All Stars tribute (which is excellent, but tends towards longer songs than can be used for swing dancing). Of course, it's kind of unfair to compare the new CBO to either of those bands -- the New York All Stars are a group of hot jazz musicians who all specialize in swinging and playing hot, and the Harris big band featured the incomparable (and sadly deceased) Ray Brown on bass, with his long time (at that point, 40 years or so of playing together) partner Herb Ellis on drums.
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sway
junior


Joined: 09 Jan 2005
Posts: 56
Location: Elevated.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amen.
I have to agree with much of your statement Trager. I hold my tongue when it comes the the falsified "Rayettes" performance on this album (they are certainly the most lacking part of this album) - so rather than bashing a contemporary jazz sound with a classic soul voice, I will leave that one alone.
My enthusiasm stems mostly from the opportunity to partake of previously unreleased Ray Charles tracks. I will support a talented group trying to digitally unite with such treasures because it brings those gems into the public. Because of the muddied background/support on the original recordings, the tour tracks were unusable.

In summation, good review of the album. I rarely, if ever, come across a band who can swing, sing, or play like the mothers and fathers of this sound. It is difficult to compare anyone to the masters, so I try to give points where good attempts are made. I hope that by supporting the big band jazz and swing scene (from older artists) record companies will continue to see viable money-making in upcoming artists, resulting in new sounds for us to enjoy in the future!

Cheers! Wink
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