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Giant Steps: Ray Charles

Friday, 17 February 2017 11:49

When you think of the word genius you often think of someone steeped in deep complex thoughts, hours on end, contemplating life’s big questions.

But sometimes genius is bestowed on an individual because they are superstars ---able to tickle that part of your brain that attaches your emotions to the pit of your stomach, they walk into a room or sing a song and the reaction comes from your gut. That’s Ray Charles.

I’m not saying what he was able to accomplish didn’t come from hard work or intellectual rigor, but he did possess that extra intangible something that moves an artist from being a star to being seen a blinding supernova.
From 1949 to 2003 Ray made it his business to move people. He lost his sight at age 7, but lived as a sighted man, playing chess, touring the world, driving a car (not sure about that one) having a dozen children with 10 different women.

He succumbed to his vices, he was known to be  difficult at times. But he released plenty of demons by just playing. He  could play and sing almost anything.,  Blues, rock and roll, country Gospel and jazz...winning Grammys in many of those categories. His approach to playing was all about simple connection, he famously said,
“You know, maybe sometimes I may sit at the keyboard and fool around with the chords and see if I can find a way to sing it where it makes me feel good inside. Sometimes, you know - I can run into songs that are good songs, but I can't make it do anything for me.”

Brother Ray was either connecting or he was not. They called him a genius because he could sit at a piano and make you forget everything around you. Sinatra called him the only Genius in showbiz ... his last album fitting called Genius Loves Company. Brother Ray a genre jumping musical genius.

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