Written by
Bob Stumpel

November 12

Ray Charles à Le Festival International De Jazz De Montréal (1983, 1985)

'83 DM Montreal'85 DM Montreal

On 4 July 1983 Ray Charles gave a concert at the Théâtre St-Denis, for the Montreal Jazz Fest. A brief clip, probably produced for the CBC News, remains. We hear small parts of What’d I Say, and Georgia On My Mind. Watch it here; for a historical overview of the festival with some of the same What’d I Say footage see this clip from 1999. For a flipbook of the 1983 festival brochure, click this.

Musicians: Mark Curry, Denny Christianson, Robbie Kwock, Phil Guilbeau – trumpets; Mayo Tiana, John Boice, Scott Fisher, Dana Hughes – trombones; Clifford Solomon, Brian Mitchell, Rudy Johnson, Donald Wilkerson, Louis Van Taylor – saxophones; James Polk – piano, Eugene Ross – guitar, Roger W. Hines – bass, Rick Kirkland – drums. The Raelettes: Trudy Cohran Hunter, Anne Johnson, Janice Mitchelll, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.

* Reconstuction with help of Jeff Kaye, Robbie Kwock and Dean Congin.

The documentary Jazz Greats At The Montreal International Jazz Festival (1985) used another song from this same concert. The series was presented by Oscar Peterson, and featured Miles Davis, Maynard Ferguson, Jean-Luc Ponty, Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Cleo Laine, Tony Bennett, Pat Metheny, Buddy Rich, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, and Stephane Grappelli.

JazzOnFilm lists three parts (only Ponty, Rollins and Gillespy are missing):

  • Part 1: Maynard Ferguson, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, Pat Metheny.
  • Part 2: Buddy Rich, Miles Davis.
  • Part 3: Stephane Grappelli, Cleo Laine & John Dankworth, Ray Charles, with archival footage from his concert on 4 July 1983 (see this).

The episode with Ray showed him performing Oh, What A Beautiful Morning (at 8:04;  part of the Eb shout chorus has shamelessly been edited out) from the 1983 Montreal Festival described above:


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