This source describes a photo of this group with Ray in it, possibly shot at a Ybor City honky tonk called the Cuban Patio.
|Snagged from an exhibit at EMP, Seattle.|
|Still, taken from The Genius Of Soul documentary. Seems a bit different from the artwork of the first cover below. If Ray's shades were added by retouche, the original artist was good in it. Both look as if they were airbrushed, later, by the same artist.|
|Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots Of Jazz In Seattle (Sasquatch Books, October 1993, ISBN-10: 0912365927), depicting trumpet player Floyd Standifer at the Trianon Ballroom in Seattle, in the Summer of 1948. Ray Charles expert Joël Dufour pointed me at the possibility that the piano player might be Ray Charles. Looking closer at the perfect round form of the pianist's ear, his skinny ankles, and his glasses, I think Joël just might be right...|
The Bumps Blackwell Band in c 1949 with Quincy Jones on trumpet and Buddy Catlett on tenor saxophone. Who is the guy sitting in between with his back towards the camera?
Outtake of photo above, in somewhat better quality.
In '48 Ray met Quincy Jones for the first time.
Bill Crow remembered some great stories in this interview by Jake D. Feinberg:
"Quincy Jones was going to High School in Seattle when I first met him. As soon as he found out I was a trombone player he said, "Hey I need one for this rehearsal band I got going." So I came over and he wrote a chart with a trombone solo in it, that was very nice.
I found out he was going over to this blind piano players house named "RC". He'd go over there after school and RC would show him chords and ways to harmonize standard tunes. Quincy would apply that to his own writing. "RC" of course was Ray Charles and at the time he had a little group called "The Maxim Trio." He was singing and playing piano trying to sound like Nat Cole.
Otis Blackwell had a little gig at a club in the black district of Seattle. RC was playing piano with him and once and awhile alto saxophone. [...].
In the afternoon after our rehearsal I would be digging in the bebop bins at the record shop.
The girl behind the counter comes over and says, "You must be a musician because nobody else looks in those bins." That turned out to be Janet Thurlow who wound up becoming a singer and later married Jimmy Cleveland. She told me about The Washington Social Club and introduced me to Ray [Charles].
She said, "You have to hear him sing the blues!" She would call out, "RC, sing the blues!" He laid back and sang a wonderful blues and we were introduced afterwards and she said, "Why don't you sing like that all the time!"
Ray said, "Ahhh, where I come from everybody sings like that. You can't make a nickel singing like that."
"Meanwhile, when McVea’s band returned to Seattle in 1948 they performed at Sy Groves’ Washington Social Club. Paul deBarro’s 1993 jazz history book, Jackson Street Afterhours, quotes local jazz bassist, Wyatt “Bull” Ruther, recalling that during this period: “If you couldn’t play the blues, you couldn’t play in Seattle. That was during the time when the smaller bands would be patterning themselves after Louis Jordan’s band. There was Jack McVea and his ‘Open The Door, Richard.’ Everybody did that one. You had to entertain.”
The trio that was hired to open this 1948 McVea show was new on the Seattle scene, having just been formed by two cats fresh in town from the south – guitarist Garcia McKee & a blind young pianist/singer, Ray Robinson – who’d hired a bassist, Milt Garred, through Seattle’s “Negro Musicians’ Union” AFM Local # 493. McVea was quite impressed by the Maxin Trio & later, when back in Los Angeles, he mentioned them to black record executive, Jack Lauderdale.
Long-story-short, within weeks Lauderdale raced up to Seattle, heard the trio, quickly took them into a downtown studio, & produced what would be the very first bluesy disc ever cut in Seattle and released commercially – “Confession Blues” – which was issued on his Down Beat label. By ’49 Lauderdale was convinced that it was the singer he really wanted to work with, & after the young musician adopted his first and middle names as a new stage name – Ray Charles – he went on to global fame as the “Genius of Soul.” For his part, McVea carried on, recording for Black & White, and touring the “chitlin’ circuit” with his newly renamed band: Jack McVea & His Door Openers." (Source here).