Written by
Bob Stumpel

December 11

Ray Charles In Concert In Prato (1970)

'70 LC PratoConcert 1970 Prato

Johnny Coles and Leroy Cooper.

On 20 January 1970 RAI 2 aired “an encounter with a famous jazz musician, Ray Charles: Ray with his band perform eight tracks […]”. The program was presented by Sergio Fantoni and Minnie Minoprio. “The famous blind black man, here with his orchestra, in a recent Italian tour, will be presented, including Georgia  and Hallelujah I Love Her So“.*
The ‘recent tour’ may refer to a series of concerts that brought Ray, the “creator of pop jazz“, to a.o. the Pavilion at the Fairgrounds in Bologna, on 29 September 1970.

In the 90s Rai Tre aired a late night series format, titled Schegge* (i.e. “snippets”). Some of these were dedicated to vintage jazz performances. I have seen a 15-minute Schegge-tape with B&W footage from the 1970 concert described above. One of the superimposed titles implies that the concert took place in Prato. The episode, directed by Sara Cipriani, entailed at least 3 out of the 8 songs from the concert:

  • Hallelujah I Love Her So
  • Am I Blue (solo: Johnny Coles – tp)
  • I’ve Got A Woman (with Für Elise intro)

* Source here and here. **Special thanks to Irene Terrani for helping to solve the puzzle.


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