More On O Gênio (1963)
In my earlier post on Ray Charles’ magnificent O Gênio* concerts from 1963 I overlooked an article by Edmundo Leite from 2005, Sai em DVD show de Ray Charles no Brasil em 1963, which sheds some more light on the factual and entertaining details of Ray’s Brazilian tour.
The Brazilian tour entailed 10 concerts in 7 days, starting with concerts at the Teatro Municipal and Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro. The first gig after that was the filmed double concert on the 19th at Cultura Artística in São Paulo. The 21st and 22nd the band played the Clube Atletico Paulistano in the same city. The taping of the second concert on the 19th was aired by TV Excelsior on the 22nd.
|Ad “Ao Publico” by Ray Charles Corporation,
in O Estado de São Paolo on Sep. 14.
The first ad (see below) shows how TV Excelsior presented Ray’s show as an epic event. In fact, the whole venture was part of a commercial war with the station’s biggest competitor, TV Record, who after announcing a broadcast of Ray’s “1959” Newport concert [sic! should be 1960, BS] was countered by a newspaper ad, inserted on the 14th and signed by the Ray Charles Corportation, represented by an agent called Henry Golddrand” [sic!], who declared that the Newport film was aired without the permission of the artist and that a criminal action against those responsible would be undertaken by the company.
On the day of the first concert the Maritime Police – then responsible for the control of foreigners – received an anonymous tip that the Charles group had entered the country with tourist visas, which would make it impossible to take on any contracted work in Brazil. The only official way to work around that would be to return to the United States, ask for new visas at the Brazilian consulate, and for “a medical certificate to prove their physical capacity for work”. The case became a diplomatic issue and was only resolved after intervention by the U.S. embassy.
The first concerts at Cultura Artística “shook the center of São Paulo”. During the day crowds of autograph hunters formed in front of the Hotel Jaragua. Ray managed to “enter the theater […] with the help of elements of the Civil Guard and the Armed Forces,” a newspaper reported.
In a post scriptum post Edmundo Leite showed that the ticket prices for Ray’s concerts were outrageous: comparing to $250 – 335 at the first venue in São Paulo, and $85 – 168 at the Clube Atletico.
* The title of the DVD has Ô Genio; thecorrect Portuguese spelling is O Gênio.