The York Circle presents The Music of Ray Charles

On Sunday, Nov. 21 at 2pm, the York Circle presents The Music of Ray Charles, a high-definition (HD) video of a sold-out concert of the music of the iconic American musician featuring performances by Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis with a special appearance by Norah Jones. Recorded before a live audience at Jazz at the Lincoln Centre in New York City on Feb. 10, 2009, the musicians recreate Charles’ greatest hits.

Above: From left, Wynton Marsalis on trumpet, Willie Nelson on guitar, and Norah Jones at the microphone recreate the music of Ray Charles.

Presented in partnership with DigiScreen and through their exclusive alliance with Opus Arte and the Royal Opera House of London, The Music of Ray Charles is the second in a series of presentations that feature the world’s most prestigious performing arts companies on screen at the University’s state-of-art HD Price Family Cinema on Keele Campus.

As part of The Music of Ray Charles, York music Professor Ron Westray, holder of the Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance, will provide commentary on the concert from an insider’s perspective. Westray worked with Ray Charles and his talk will reveal more about the man behind the music. The concert  is 94 minutes in length with a 15 minute intermission. The set list includes:

  1. Hallelujah Love Her So
  2. You Are My Sunshine
  3. Come Rain Or Come Shine
  4. Unchain My Heart
  5. Crying Time
  6. Losing Hand
  7. Hit The Road Jack
  8. I’m Moving On
  9. Busted
  10. You Don’t Know Me
  11. Here We Go Again
  12. Makin’ Whoopee
  13. I Love So Much (It Hurts)
  14. What’d I Say
  15. That’s All.

Tickets are still available for this presentation. Single ticket admission for York Circle members and students is $15.95 plus HST. General admission tickets are $21.95 plus HST and tickets for children under nine are $9.95 plus HST. To purchase tickets, visit the York Circle website.

More about Ray Charles

Ray Charles was famous for his soulful rendition of such classics as I Can’t Stop Loving You, Georgia On My Mind and Hit the Road, Jack. Charles was one of the most successful African-American artists of the 20th century. A gifted pianist and saxophonist, Charles was blind from the age of seven. A self-taught singer and performer, Charles composed and arranged music by Braille.

Left: Ray Charles

Charles won a dozen Grammys and was voted best male singer for five years in a row, from 1961 to 1966. He spent much of his career touring and performing in front of live audiences. Some of his most famous songs are Busted, Ruby, Take These Chains From My Heart and Crying Time.

His final album, Genius Loves Company (released two months after his death from liver cancer in 2004) consists of duets with various admirers and contemporaries: B.B. King, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, James Taylor, Gladys Knight, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, and Johnny Mathis. The album won eight Grammy Awards, including five for Ray Charles for Best Pop Vocal Album, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for Here We Go Again with Norah Jones, and Best Gospel Performance for Heaven Help Us All with Gladys Knight; he also received nods for his duets with Elton John and B.B. King.

More about Ron Westray

Jazz musician and composer Ron Westray is best known for his work as lead trombonist with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis and his collaborations with Wycliffe Gordon. He launched his professional performance career in the early 1990s, recording and touring nationally with the Marcus Roberts Septet. He has appeared in concert with such luminaries as Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Benny Carter, Dewey Redman, Roy Haynes, Randy Brecker and a host of other pre-eminent artists. A regular on the New York City club circuit, he has played premier jazz venues such as the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Sweet Basil’s, Iridium, Jazz Standard and Smalls, and is a standing member of the Mingus Band. In addition to his concerts and recordings with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Westray has recorded as a sideman on such major labels as Columbia, Sony Classical and RCA Novus.

As a composer, Westray’s personal catalogue comprises dozens of original compositions and arrangements for big band and mixed ensembles. His commissions for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra include the monumental score Chivalrous Misdemeanors – Select Tales from Don Quixote (2005) and arrangements of the works of Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman. His charts have been published by Walrus Music.

Westray joined York’s Music Department in 2009 as the Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance, a position endowed by the Government of Ontario to commemorate legendary Canadian jazz artist Oscar Peterson.  He teaches in the jazz program and co-directs the York University Jazz Orchestra with Professor Al Henderson.

To join the York Circle, purchase tickets or for more information about upcoming performances visit the York Circle Web site or call 416-736-5020.

The York Circle receives generous support from York’s Alumni Office (program partner) and Toronto Community News and York Region Media Group (print media sponsors).