07 February, 2008

Musical genius it is; a precedent, hopefully, it is not.

Released in October of 2006, but only recently acquired by myself, Ray Sings, Basie Swings has really caught my attention as an album of absolute musical genius. If you are not familiar with the project, Steve Futterman (bn.com) aptly describes it as a “...technological masterwork, [where] tapes of Charles’ vocals from 1970s-era live performances have been digitally married to contemporary studio performances by the [current] Basie band.”

The late great Ray Charles is obviously at the height of his vocal prowess, growlin’ and testifyin’ like never before. The seamless fusion of the arrangements of the Count Basie Orchestra with this vocal master class make this album an absolute sensation. And the congregation said, "Amen".

However, my concern for a project like this is that others are not tempted to follow. Or at least not without extreme caution. I mean do we really want Bing Crosby meets John Tesh - A Synthetic White Christmas? I am aware that this is not the first project like this - think Nat & Natalie Cole - yet it certainly is a first for something of this magnitude and integration of historical and comtemporary recordings/arrangements.

Maybe I am overreacting, and if so please tell me.

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