Written by
Bob Stumpel

December 27

Ray Charles Live In Moscow (1994)

'94 LC MoscowConcert 1994 MoscowWith Ray Charles Band

Announcement on the Russian
 torrent website [name withheld].

Through the Jazz On The Screen database I was aware of  two concerts by Ray Charles at the Russia Concert Hall in Moscow on 13 and 14 July 1994, sponsored by Alfa-Bank, and of the fact that the second one, directed by Sergei Antipov, was recorded for TV. The Ray Charles concerts were part of the  2nd Annual Moscow Jazz Festival.

A Russian torrent website not only adds a few details to that description (i.e. that the TV show was aired by RTR, and that the concert was also – simultaneously, as it turns out – broadcast by “Prestige” radio), it also offers a possibility to download the concert!
Sergei Antipov, sitting at an editing console, introduced the viewers to different sequences of the show. Ray’s presence in Moscow was clearly a big event. The footage starts with a reportage from a press conference at Hotel Metropol, where Ray – at his charming best – expresses his clearly genuine gratitude for being invited to Moscow for the first time in his career. Further on in the program, we see a number of street interviews with members of the audience.
The concert footage comes from the show on July 14th. Ray, the band and The Raelettes were in great shape that night. Tonette McKinney’s rendition of the Donny Hathaway tune Giving Up (#14) is a marvel (watch below).

The setlist* was:

  1. Metamorphosis (Ray Charles Orchestra) (solos Ernest Vantrease – kb; Curt Weiss – tp, Al Jackson – as)

  2. Intro RC

  3. Then We’ll Be Home (Sadies Tune)

  4. Busted

  5. Georgia On My Mind

  6. Mississippi Mud

  7. How Long Has This Been Going On (solo David Hoffman – tp)

  8. Teardrops From My Eyes (solo Al Waters – ts)

  9. Yours

  10. Blues For Big Scotia

  11. A Song For You

  12. Intro Raelettes (by RC)

  13. Rock Steady (ft Estella Yarbrough)

  14. Giving Up (ft Tonette McKinney)

  15. Hit The Road Jack

  16. I Can’t Stop Loving You

  17. What’d I Say (intro: Gonna Keep On Singin’)

  18. Outro

Musicians: Larry Foyen, Kurt Weiss, David Hoffman, Kenny Scharf – trumpets; Steve Sigmund, Mike Guerrier, Marc Fields, Pete Beltran – trombones; Steve Elliott, Al Jackson – alto saxophones; Al Waters, Rudy Johnson – tenor saxophones; Jim Farnsworth – baritone saxophone; Peter Turre – drums; Steve Gregory – guitar; Tom Fowler – bass; Ernest Vantrease – piano, organ. The Raelettes: Elaine Woodard, Tonette McKinney, Estelle Yarbrough, Renee Collins Georges, Angela Workman.
* Many thanks to David Hoffman for attributing the solos and completing the line-up.

Metamorphosis (Ray Charles Orchestra):

Giving Up (Tonette McKinney):

Rhythm section: Peter Turre – d; Steve Gregory – g; Tom Fowler – b; Ernest
Vantrease – o. The other Raelettes: Elaine Woodard, Estelle Yarbrough, Renee
Collins Georges, Angela Workman.

On 15 July CBS’ Early Show covered the event with an item under the title Ray Charles performs at 2nd Annual Jazz Festival in Moscow (source here). The AP Archive has databased another news item (originally from Worldwide Television News, a company they bought), first aired on 18 July 1994, showing how Ray Charles arrives in Moscow, then has a press conference, and then performs.
Also read this article in the Moscow Times.


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