Written by
Bob Stumpel

December 10

Ray Charles Live In A Symphony Concert At The Warsaw Jamboree (1996)

'96 LC WarsawConcert 1996 Warsaw

Still from video copy.

After his marvelous concerts with his own band at the Jazz Jamboree in 1984, Ray Charles returned to Warsaw twice – in 1996 and 2000, both times for symphony gigs. From two video clips that already have been circulating for a while on the web (with songs #1 and #4), I already knew that the 1996 concert was televized.
Today’s good news* is that the footage of the whole concert has survived – and that it was one of Ray’s best symphony concerts ever recorded. The TV program, aired by TVP 2, was directed by Dariusz Goczal. Victor Vanacore conducted the Orkiestra Symfoniczna Filharmonii Łódzkiej. Ray, as usual, brought his own rhythm section, with Kenny Carr (g), Curtis Ohlsson (b), and Peter Turre (d).

Tune #3 was never recorded in a studio; up till now it was only known from the setlist of the Charlotte Pops concert in 1998. Ray’s leg work was captured from a full frontal angle by the Polish cameras when he played Big Scotia (#8). The ‘Euro ballads’ (#5 and 7), and A Song For You (#9) got very inspired renditions. And Ray performed Yesterday (#11) after a delicious Träumerei intro – a bit jazzier than in the 1988 concert at the Leeuwin Winery.

  1. It Hurts To Be In Love
  2. If I Could
  3. Let’s Get Away From It All
  4. Georgia On My Mind
  5. For Mamma
  6. I’ve Got A Woman
  7. If You Go Away
  8. Blues For Big Scotia
  9. A Song For You
  10. All I Ever Need Is You
  11. Yesterday

Who knows on exactly what date and at which venue the concert took place, and when it was first broadcast?

It Hurts To Be In Love:

If I Could (soundclip):

Georgia On My Mind:
   [Clip removed from YouTube]

* Special thanks to Hector Tarin Nieto for scouting and sharing a private copy of the concert’s footage.


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