On Tribute To Ray Charles (CR 73333) singer Madeline Bell and the Jazz Orch. Of the Concertgebouw have a rollicking time.
In 2006 when the Ray Charles biography Ray debuted in the Netherlands and Belgium, as an “encore,” the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw with singer Madeline Bell followed the film by giving a concert of Ray Charles’ music, with the emphasis on the jazz and blues side of the very versatile performer. The Orchestra’s performance of Feb. 17, 2005 was recorded and is released as this CD.
While Ray Charles himself was not present, Madeline Bell does a superior and spirited job of filling in. She sings with plenty of feeling, swing and wit on the great majority of the selections which include “Hallelujah, I Love Him So,” “Unchain My Heart,” “Let The Good Times Roll” and “Georgia On My Mind.” The big band is very impressive and is actually superior to Charles’ own ensemble of his later years. They get to stretch out on the instrumental ”Let’s Go” and a rollicking 13-minute version of “What’d I Say.”
Among the many soloists from the 19-piece orchestra are pianist-conductor Henk Meutgeert, tenor-saxophonist Jan Menu, trumpeter Erik Veldkamp and trombonist Jeroen Rol. They form a powerful ensemble, whether playing on their own or inspiring Madeline Bell to sing at her most passionate.
Ray Charles fans will love this CD.