Ray Charles Authoring Jack Sheldon Album’s Cover Notes (1961)
In 1961 Ray Charles was at the pinnacle of his fame. It was also the year that he was first recognized and honored with a tribute album, by the soulful trumpeteer Jack Sheldon: A Jazz Profile Of Ray Charles (released by Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records, R-2004, July 1961).
Sheldon recorded the 12 tracks over two days in May (spanning a selection from five Ray Charles albums issued between 1957 and 1961) with his trio: Marty Paich on piano and organ, Joe Mondragon on bass and John Markham on drums. The elpee came out in July 1961, with a testimonial by Ray Charles, praising Sheldon, and adding some humble remarks regarding himself.
I assume that Paich – who was Ray’s favorite arranger in his early ABC-Paramount years – was the linking pin between Charles and Sheldon. Highly remarkable was his organ playing, sounding almost exactly as awkward as Ray’s Hammond wizardry on Genius + Soul = Jazz (Impulse 2, February 1961), “[…] making it seem as if the instrument is being operated by a bellows”, as Marc Meyers remarked in this excellent Jazz Wax article about this album.