Originally filmed for Brazilian television and shown only the once, Ô-Genio (The Genius in Portuguese) contains 2 concerts of the late Ray Charles, which were recorded one day before his 33rd birthday. Originally given to the producer, James Austin, several years before his death, it was effectively placed on the backburner as other projects took precedence. After Charles' death, Austin was asked to help provide music for the funeral service where he unearthed the tape that Ray had previously given him. In August 2004, Austin returned to Ray's vault and found a second tape, which contained the second concert on this disk. It is noted that Ray apparently wished to own copies of everything he recorded, as he felt all his songs were like his children and he wanted them all in one place and if he hadn't had a contract with the television station, chances are that the concerts here would have been erased or destroyed. The concerts themselves feature 27 songs plus the Brazilian commercials and are considered by the co-writer of Ray's autobiography as a remarkable find, encompassing what he considers as the two great periods of Ray's artistic maturation. Certainly there's no doubt as to the genius at work and to fans of Ray Charles, this is a rare find indeed.
Released to tie in with the Oscar Nominated movie “Ray”, this is indeed a chance to view one of the most influential and talented musicians of the last 75 years. I will openly admit that I've not seen or heard as much Ray Charles as I have other artists, I was aware of his talent and indeed impressed with the concert. I do prefer my music of a more recent period, not being a child of the 60's, but can appreciate good music and talent and it is clearly evident here. If you are a fan of Ray Charles or Blues/Jazz, this is an essential disc to own, not just for the music or it's rarity but to witness a complete concert by one of the greats.
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