‘The Genius of Ray Charles’ Review

Jackson Tovian, Scoop Writer

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Most jazz fans agree that 1959 was the most pivotal and creative year in jazz and in the general music scene. A plethora of timeless albums were released in the span of 12 months, such as Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue,” Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” and “Moanin’” by Art Blakey.

“The Genius of Ray Charles” was different; Charles blended genres effortlessly. He fit on the spectrum of jazz, R&B, soul and swing, which made him a suitable musical competitor to the biggest name in music at the time–Frank Sinatra. For it was Sinatra himself who called Ray “the only genius in show business.”

Unlike his previous smash hit, “What’d I Say”, this album emphasized more on Ray’s jazz and swing side, straying away from, but not totally abandoning soul and blues.
The album was recorded from May 6 to June 23 of 1959 in New York City and consists of 12 songs, the first half consisting of explosive Quincy Jones’-arranged big band tunes such as “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Deed I Do.” The second half includes ballads and soft “songs for lovers.”

When the album was first released, critics were not enthusiastic about its release and looked over its true colors. But since, Rolling Stone has placed this album on its “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.

If you love jazz, soul or blues, then this is an album you must listen to. The album is on all musical streaming services and can be purchased on Amazon or in the iTunes store for $9.99.

I rate this album a 10/10 because every song is brilliantly executed, and it still holds up in today’s standards of music. From its recording quality to its musical character, this album is a true joy to listen to. Personally, it is my favorite album Ray Charles has released on his Atlantic Records catalogue.

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