Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Ray Charles and Count Basie: We Meet at Last

Ray Charles (courtesy of Ray Charles Enterprises Inc.)

I remember when Kenny G did that thing with Louis Armstrong-it pissed a lot of people off,” said Gregg Field, referring to the smooth-jazz icon’s 1999 studio-magic duet on “What a Wonderful World.”

Field is the producer of Ray Sings, Basie Swings, and has had to give a lot of thought to such artistic exhumations. The new CD, released jointly by Concord Records and Starbucks Hear Music, uses digital editing technology to marry a recently discovered Ray Charles concert vocal from the 1970s to new arrangements recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra. For Field, who worked as a drummer with both Charles and Basie, the criteria that guided him were: How does it exist as a work of art? Does it make sense for these artists to work together?

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published