Raymond Charles Robinson was not just a legend, “the genius”, a “force of nature” and “a presence”. He was also pure energy, the source of a radiant glow that dazzled everyone who ever came near him. His passion for music, women, and rhythm, coupled with his love of life and laughter, were ingredients that made his work a monument of 20th century culture. He left essential traces – in jazz, blues, soul and R&B – because music is something inseparable and Ray lived its rhythms from the inside. Born in poverty, raised in America’s racist South, blind at seven and an orphan at 15, Ray had all it took to be a success… Those attributes, plus a few titles in his case that he’d recorded for Swing Time, made such an impression on Ahmet Ertegun that he signed Ray to Atlantic in 1952. The next ten years forged the legend of Ray Charles. And now, six decades later, the tracks on this album are still hits hummed by all generations.
The history of music shows us that different kinds and forms follow each other. And that the latest trend overshadows the one that came before it. Today it's difficult to say exactly which trend dominates, as there are so many music currents that overlap and intersect. Mainstream exists no longer. Yet one thing is certain: each music form is built on the music that precedes it. There would be no jazz without classical music, no rock without blues, no rock without jazz, no rap without soul music, no sampling without the riffs of either soul or rock… and therefore, inside each genre you find different chapters in the history of music. And that is why it is so important to understand their origins: they shed the light that is necessary for an understanding of the music born every day.
The richness of jazz lies at the origin of so much music today that it is essential to discover this creative wealth. The Essential Works of Masters of Jazz bring to light those 20th century creations that still exert an influence on the majority of musicians today — whether they are aware of it or not.
The Essential Works of Masters of Jazz gather the fundamental creations of the music of today.