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Roots & Influences - The World of Ray Charles

Artist Song Buy
The Nat "King" Cole Trio  Sweet Lorraine   buy on itunes
Charles Brown & Johnny Moore's 3 Blazers  Drifting Blues   buy on itunes
Art Tatum  How High The Moon   buy on itunes
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan  Baby It's Cold Outside   buy on itunes
Louis Jordan  Let the Good Times Roll   buy on itunes
Buddy Rich, Charlie Parker, Curly Russell, Dizzy Gillespie & Thelonious Monk  My Melancholy Baby   buy on itunes
T-Bone Walker  I Got a Break, Baby   buy on itunes
Tampa Red  When Things Go Wrong With You   buy on itunes
Duke Ellington and His Orchestra  Solitude   buy on itunes
Coleman Hawkins  Body and Soul   buy on itunes
Alex Bradford  Too Close to Heaven   buy on itunes
Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra  Flying Home   buy on itunes
Percy Mayfield  Please Send Me Someone to Love   buy on itunes
Hank Williams  Half as Much   buy on itunes
Billie Holiday  Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)   buy on itunes
Pete Johnson  Johnson and Turner Blues (alt. Take)   buy on itunes
Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra  Cherokee   buy on itunes
Count Basie and His Orchestra  Lil' Darlin'   buy on itunes
Erskine Hawkins  After Hours   buy on itunes
Lester Young  Lester Leaps In   buy on itunes


Country, jazz, pop, blues . . . all the music Ray grew up on used to be segregated — like the rest of America — until he began blurring lines and breaking barriers. How much did jazz legend Art Tatum influence a young Ray Charles? "Even later, when I got fairly good at the piano," said Ray, "I knew that I couldn't even carry Art Tatum's (slop) bucket." Tatum's Mach 3 rocket blast through "How High The Moon" is exceeded only by his genius — there's that word again — at improvisation. Nat "King" Cole jumps the gap between jazz and pop in "Sweet Lorraine," pointing the way toward Charles Brown's bourbon-smooth performance in "Drifting Blues." Prissy sophisticate Ella Fitzgerald plays hard-to-get with suave hound dog Louis Jordan in "Baby It's Cold Outside" (later a hit for Ray with Betty Carter). And in the honky-tonk heartbreak of "Half as Much," country icon Hank Williams two-steps his way to #2 in a hit that Ray would rebuild from the ground up on [i]Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music[/i]. From Billie Holiday to T-Bone Walker, we've got the key artists and essential tracks that helped turn a blind boy from Georgia into a legend all over the world.
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