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27 October 2011

Ray Charles Live In Antibes (1961)

The 1961 Festival
French Ray Charles fans (video still).
The 1961 edition of the Antibes Jazz Festival, in later years also known as Jazz à Juan, was the second in its history. It had Ray Charles, Count Basie, and Les McCann as headliners, but Ray was given a super star treatment, and actually fulfilled the role of - what we would now call - the artist in residence. Charles, his Orchestra (i.e. his 'small big band') and The Raelettes performed (at least) four times, and Ray was invited to  all or most official receptions and gala meetings.

The concert series
The 2me Festival International Du Jazz, was first announced to be held from 17 to 23 July 1963 ("avec le Concours de la Radiodiffusion Television Française"), but the festival actually took place from the 18th until the 24th. The magazine Jazz Hot announced 3 sets by Ray Charles on the 20th, the 21st and the 23d (all scheduled at 9.30 p.m. at the Pinède Gould), and implied a possible 4th performance at the "Closing Gala at the Casino of Juan-les-Pins" on July 24th.
Poster (or program cover?)
of the 1961 festival,
with wrong date
range, as reproduced
by the magazine Jazz Hot.
In fact, there were four concert dates: 18, 19, 21 and 22 July - if Ray performed during the closing gala, the show was not taped, or the recording(s) didn't survive.
The four shows were taped for radio, and filmed for TV. All radio recordings have survived; the filmed performances that stil exist made it to the 2011 DVD discussed below.

TV recordings
According to the liner notes of the 2011 DVD (see below), four concerts were filmed for ORTF television, all  directed by Jean-Christophe Averty (who, until the early 1990s, would be involved in many more of Ray's concert tapings in France). The same concerts were also taped for radio broadcasts. The latter, of course in a remastered version, were used for the audio part of the 2011 DVD.
The producers of the DVD-set Ray Charles Live In France 1961 (Eagle Vision DVD EREDV904) discovered that the footage from the festival was originally edited into nine different Best of the Antibes Jazz Festival programs, broadcast by RTF from the summer of 1961 to the spring of 1962. "This Ray Charles footage was never intended to be shown as a full-length project," explained Reelin' In The Years' David Peck, "But [...] we found the radio recordings of the full sets, giving us a way to edit everything together to become this seamless experience and amazing document of Ray Charles."

The part of the Ina archive that I have access to has databased several TV items. It's not yet clear to me how these items relate to the series of 9 programs mentioned in the paragraph above, and/or if (some of?) the contents of these programs were used for the 2011 DVD:
  • Interview Ray Charles and Count Basie ('61 DM Antibes)First aired on TF 1 News on 18 July 1961. Contents: Airport of Orly; Ray Charles comes from plane; Ray Charles carrying a Bible in Braille under his arm; interviews by François de La Maisonneuve with Ray Charles and Count Basie. (Ina ID CAF91038028).
  • Festival 1961: Ray Charles. First aired on 21 July 1961 by TF 1. Contents a.o.: 1. Doodlin' (Ray Charles Orchestra), Let The Good Times Roll, Georgia On My Mind, Sticks And Stones (Ina ID CPF86644253); 2. Georgia On My Mind (Ina ID CPF86644253). 
  • Festival 1961: Count Basie - Ray Charles. First aired on TF 1 on 21 October 1961. Contents: 1. Festival overview with clips from concerts by Ray Charles and Count Basie (Ina ID CPF86644255); 2. What'd I Say (Ina ID CPF86644255).
Bootleg CD
The bootleggish Italian audio CD titled Rock + Soul = Genius (Jazz Music Yesterday, CD HMY1009-2) has all tunes from the first concert on 18 July 1961, plus "Ruby" from the concert on 21 July. The materials  at one time have been part of an exchange program between French radio and the Italian public radio station RAI. For more information on the EBU exchange program, also see this post.
It's highly probable that Rock + Soul = Genius was bootlegged from tape copies of the original French RTF recordings, that were used by RAI.
One of the tracks on the CD has an erroneous title, Hot Rod. The correct title is ‎Popo (the tune penned by Shorty Rogers, here with a nice tenor/alto battle between David Newman and Hank Crawford). For Shorty's original, see and hear this.

Bootleg DVD (DVD1)
The bootleg DVD Jazz à Juan (a while ago on sale via Ebay), seemed to represent all film footage stored at Ina, the French national radio and tv archive. It presented the setlists of a Première Partie, a Deuxième Partie (this numbering was fictional), and five Bonus items. But the bootleg missed two tracks, namely the versions of I Wonder and Sticks And Stones from the last two concerts in the series.
Bootleg Ray à Juan

Official DVD (DVD2) 
The contents of the 'official' DVD, Ray Charles - Live in France 1961 are very similar to the bootleg, but of course the new release presents the film footage and the audio in optimized, remastered versions. The producers' notes of Ray Charles Live In France 1961 go deeper into some of the provenance and production details:
"It is from these [9 RTF] programs that we culled 105 minutes of Ray Charles' various performances and tried to reassemble them into the original order of the sets. It is important to note that the footage included in this [DVD] was never originally intended to be broadcast as a full-length program."
"In 1961, long before the digital age, films were edited by physically cutting and splicing segments together and discarding the rest (on the famed “cutting room floor.”) Unfortunately, this is why only 105 minutes exist from the four sets Ray and the band performed in July 1961. The biggest task for us was how to put the 25 songs that were spread out across the various programs back together into a seamless Ray Charles concert experience. To make matters worse, the individual songs were often missing the first and last notes. Fortunately, the full sets existed as radio recordings. This allowed us to (for the most part) rearrange the clips into their original running order, fix all of the missing heads and tails of the performances, and as a bonus, gave the whole project far superior sound! This still left us with the challenge of creating the visual bridges between the songs; our solution to this was to insert audience shots culled from the over 20 hours of footage filmed at the festival that year."
The audio mastering was done by Joe Palmaccio. "He took our damaged 50-year-old radio tapes that were less than ideally recorded and brought out a brilliant, fully rounded sonic clarity that we could have only hoped was somehow buried in those tapes."
The video quality of the DVD is superior as compared to the bootleg, but less good than I hoped for (the video remastering is sub-optimal). The audience shots (also taken from concerts by other artists) are no clear improvement (the editor made an awkward mistake when he combined one of the later concerts with a telelens shot from one of the earlier RC concerts).
In the reconstruction of the footage, Eagle Vision must have followed the editors of the bootleg DVD, thus also copying the mistake of attributing 3 tunes from the 21 July-concert to the concert on the 22nd.

The DVD-film's "worldwide premiere" took place on 20 October 2011, presented by the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles. The screening was followed by "a panel discussion, moderated by biographer David Ritz, that included director David Peck, one of the film’s producers Tom Gulotta, Ray Charles catalog authority James Austin and Rob Bowman, associate professor of Ethnomusicology at Toronto's York University, whose incisive liner notes are part of the Ray Charles - Live In France 1961 package".  The complete DVD can be watched here:



Official 2011 DVD Trailer:

Table with all releases
No less than 15 of the recorded tunes remain unreleased. In a table the battlefield looks as follows:


A. 18 July 1961 Radio CD DVD1 DVD2
1. Doodlin’  X X X X
2. The Story  X X X X
3. Lil’ Darlin’ X X
4. One Mint Julep  X X X X
5. Let the Good Times Roll   X X X X
6. Georgia On My Mind   X X X X
7. My Bonnie X X
8. (Night Time Is) The Right Time* X X
9. Sticks And Stones   X X X X
10. Hallelujah, I Love Her So  X X X X
11. What I’d Say   X X X X
* Listed as Night Train by INA
B. 19 July 1961 Radio CD DVD1 DVD2
1. The Story   X X X
2. In A Little Spanish Town X
3. Lil Darlin’ X
4. Hornful Soul** X
5. Let The Good Times Roll X
6. Georgia On My Mind X
7. Sticks And Stones   X X X
8. My Baby X
9. Yes Indeed   X X X
10. I Believe To My Soul   X X X
11. What I’d Say   X X X
* Conjecture: listed as Upbeat by INA. 
C. 21 July 1961 Radio CD DVD1 DVD2
1. Popo* X
2. Lil Darlin’ X
3. Let The Good Times Roll  X
4. Ruby**  X X X X
5. My Bonnie** X X X
6. With You On My Mind**    X x X
7. Sticks And Stones X
8. I Wonder  X X X
9. What I’d Say X
* Listed as Hot Rod by INA. ** Indicated as being from 22 July on DVDs.
D. 22 July 1961 Radio CD DVD1 DVD2
1. Popo* X
2. Lil Darlin’ X
3. Hornful Soul** X X X
4. Let The Good Time Roll  X X X
5. Georgia On My Mind X X X
6. Yes Indeed X
7. With You On My Mind X
8. Tell The Truth X X X
9. I Wonder  X X X
10. Sticks And Stones X X X
11. I Believe To My Soul X X X
12. What I’d Say X X X
* Conjecture: listed as Hot Rod by INA. ** Conjecture: listed as Upbeat by INA.

Personnel
Musicians: Phil Guilbeau, John Hunt - trumpets, Hank Crawford - alto saxophone;  David Newman - tenor saxophone, flute; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Edgar Willis - bass; Bruno Carr - drums. The Raelettes: Pat Lyles,  Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, Darlene McCrea.

Other footage
The INA archive also shelved a brief (and not very interesting) interview with Ray Charles and Count Basie at their arrival on Orly Airport, and a fragment of one of Count Basie's concerts, with Ray standing in the audience. 



Photos, documents
Poster in Antibes, "Celui que l'Amérique appelle 'le genie'" (collection J.P. Verger).
Article (i.e. most of it) by R. Langel in Tribune de Lausanne (Oct. 27) with a review and unique photos.
From Cinémonde, 17 October 1961.

One of the infamous Antibes kitchen chairs from the first concert. The festival organizers obviously didn't expect the band to read music.
David Newman, Hank Crawford, John Hunt, and the kitchen chairs (collection J.P. Verger).
The band on the 18th: Edgar Willis, Leroy Cooper, Bruno Carr, David Newman, Hank Crawford, John Hunt, Phil Guilbeau (still or photo?).
Photo by René Vital/Paris Match.
Photo by René Vital/Paris Match.

Photo by René Vital/Paris Match.
From Rallye Jeunesse. Nov. 1961 (courtesy of André Monnot).

The Raelettes (collection J.P. Verger).
From Swiss 1961 souvenir brochure.
From 1962 concert souvenir brochure.
From Swiss 1961 souvenir brochure.

 
Photo by Jean-Pierre Leloir.
Coll. J.P. Verger.
Ray's exit at one of the later concerts (collection J.P. Verger).
On stage with mayor Dumas; Joe Adams left, Phil Guilbeau right (collection J.P. Verger).
Reception a/o press conference, with mr. Dumas, the mayor of Antibes/Juan-les-Pins, Count Basie and Ray Charles.
"Three greats get together as the mayor of a French city honors, left to right, Count Basie and Ray Charles in a museum over 400 years old at a reception given by the city. The painting in the background is an original Picsasso"; from 1962 concert souvenir brochure.
"Ray Charles, Jeff Brown, Joe Adams, Henry Godgran as Ray 'watches' the latest Parisian styles on the Riviera in France"; from 1962 concert souvenir brochure.
 Ray Charles and Raita Johnson attending a Count Basie concert.
 EP released by Vega in early 1960s; the cover photo, showing Ray attending a Count Basie concert in Antibes, was taken by Jean-Pierre Leloir. Also see this.
Prob. part of the same photo series.
(Collection J.P. Verger).
Article in Disco Revue (Oct. 12, 1961). Ray promises the interviewer to take language courses, to get beyond the stage of the 'merci beaucoups', Then he asks her to scout a 20 acre terrain for him in France, big enough to build a house and to land his plane.
Photo by by René Vital/Paris Match.
Photo by Jacques Chenard.
Ray Charles' love affair with the blonde Finnish journalist Raita Johnson started with an interview in Antibes. Photos (c) Rancurel.

No paragraph of this article could have been written without the limitless knowledge and generosity of Joël Dufour.

20 October 2011

Ray Charles' Statement On Drugs In Let's Go (1968)

Still, originally probably 
from Australian interview.
The weekly Let's Go music show was produced by CBC in Canada, and was hosted by Bill Good, Jr. The footage below shows sequences from an  episode titled Let's Go - Psychedelic. The clips form an entertaining time document (a highly moralistic and therefore utterly hilarious one, looking at it through modern eyes), examining the Flower Power, Hippie, Psychedelic and drugs scenes in 1968.

Country Joe, Pat Boone, Richard Pryor, The Everly Brothers, The Beach Boys, Harper's Bizarre, Little Richard, Bobby Hebb, and Frank Sinatra Jr. were among the interviewees. Ray Charles, Timothy Leary and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi were also featured.

The sequence with Ray Charles' refreshingly independent statement (also watch Pryor for that angle!) possibly comes from an interview shot at Sydney Airport, on 16 August 1967 (also see this post).


Ray at 8:40:

09 October 2011

Birth Of A Big Band: Ray Charles' October 1961 Concerts In Paris

David Newman
Hank Crawford.
Don Wilkerson.
John Hunt.
Phil Guilbeau.
Keg Johnson.
Leroy Cooper.
Sonny Forriest.
Bruno Carr.

In 1961 Ray Charles conquered France. End of July he was the "artist in residence" (as we would now call it) at the Antibes festival, where he performed with his "small big band" (although he had established his first big band in the U.S., and had toured with it, in the spring of '61). The French national broadcasting organization, ORTF, followed everything with film & sound teams, making Ray's shows the subject of a series of broadcasts over TV and radio. The combined film/sound results are the source of the DVD Ray Charles Live In France 1961.
That "In France"-part of the DVD's title certainly is a bit too expansive. Because if the July 1961 Antibes concerts represent the Holy Grail of Ray Charles' live history, then the October 1961 Paris concerts surely represent the Nibelung Treasure of raycharlesiana.

Soon after his triumph in Antibes, Ray returned to Europe and France, from 18 to 24 October 1961, for concerts in Zurich (18th), Lyon (19th), and four days of shows with his new big band at the (then new) Palais des Sports in Paris (21st - 24th). The ORTF radio station France Inter send a crew to tape these concerts.
The recordings have survived, in several forms. Within the live-music part of Ray Charles' total body of work their importance (on the levels of quality, quantity, and uniqueness) is only equaled by the Antibes 1961 footage.

These two series of gigs definitively established Charles' fame in France, where he not only became the #1 bestselling jazz artist for many years to come, but also a seasonal phenomenon, who would be warmly welcomed to the country's biggest venues and festivals almost every year for the next 40 years, through the years consistently covered by French radio and TV, and reaching a fame and status that matched the appreciation for the most famous local chanteurs.

Some mute footage of Ray's landing on Orly Airport:

In this news clip (broadcast by TF-1 on October 19th),  interviewer Gilbert Lauzun aks Ray if he plans to come back to France more often, "when you are older". Even better than that, Ray answered, "I plan to buy a villa at the French Rivièra":


The concert series
The Ray Charles troupe gave a series of 7 concerts at the Palais des Sports in Paris in October 1961:
  • The evening of Friday, October 20th
  • The evening of Saturday, October 21st
  • The afternoon of Sunday, October 22nd
  • The evening of Sunday, October 22nd
  • The evening of Monday, October 23d
  • The evening of Tuesday, October 24th
  • Unknown date and time: according to one trustworthy testimony, Ray Charles gave a 7th concert, exclusively for U.S. troops stationed in France (the same eye witness remembered that Ray also played alto saxophone during this concert).
The concerts on the 23d and 24th were scheduled after the first four shows sold out. Contemporary industry magazines counted that the total series attracted a record-breaking total of 35,000 people (70% of them in the age group 16 to 20, a magazine concluded).
From the souvenir program of the concert series, with some (not unusual) errors in the personnel listing (collection Joël Dufour).

All in all, these 1961 big band concerts are as magnificent as the legendary 1964 Shrine live concert, but the number of tunes (and versions) is much bigger. And one could argue that the October 1961 concerts caught Ray Charles at the real pinnacle of his creativity. The sound of the band was very much the same as on the 1960 album Genius + Soul = Jazz, from which he took I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town and I've Got News For You, plus the instrumentals From The Heart, Moanin' and One Mint Julep. This album atmosphere was further enhanced by Ray's own - brilliant - (Hammond) organ playing.
But Ray went back to other parts of his 'back catalog' as well. He performed a number of tunes from his Atlantic years (Hallelujah I Love Her So, Yes Indeed, I Believe To My Soul, My Bonnie, What'd I Say, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Let The Good Times Roll, Just For A Thrill, Come Rain Or Come Shine), and he selected a nice set of songs from his recent recordings for ABC (Georgia On My Mind, Sticks And Stones, My Baby, Margie, I Wonder, Hit The Road Jack).
For the instrumentals he gratefully borrowed from the book of the Quincy Jones Big Band (Birth Of A Band, Moanin', etc.), and from Hank Crawford's early 1960s albums. The big band charts for Come Rain Or Come Shine, Georgia On My Mind and Just For A Thrill were newly written, on Ray's special request, by Quincy Jones. (Jones, after returning from Europe in 1960, where his big band went virtually bankrupt, in one of the most generous gestures in the history of modern music, had given his band's book (today hopefully still present in the vaults of the Ray Charles Foundation) to Ray.
My personal favorite is one of the alternate renditions of Come Rain Or Come Shine. It's really sensationally bluesy. Ray introduces and then afterwards thanks Don Wilkerson by name (an honorary treatment that only Johnny Coles was entitled to in later years, every time he did his solos on Am I Blue...).
The Paris audience clearly recognized most tunes, the old and the newer ones, and they abundantly showed their appreciation, adding the required delicious live flavor to the tapings.

Tapes, broadcasts and record releases
Three of the concerts were recorded by R.T.F. (Radiodiffusion Télévision Française) on mono 38 speed reel-to-reel audio tapes. These recordings are now held, in digital formats, by INA (Institut National de l’Audiovisuel), the French national Radio and TV archive. All concerts started - as they would until the end - with his band playing a set of instrumentals; Ray stepped on stage to joint them on One Mint Julep, and a few more instrumentals. The Genius was joined by The Raelettes starting at the performance of Alexander's Ragtime Band.

A. Concert of Saturday October 21, 1961, evening
Original tape INA ID LVZA/13; current ID PHZ07013245.
Tracks from this concert were broadcast by Paris Inter on October 22, in the Jazz sur Scène series, presented by André Francis.
  1. Happy Faces (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: DN - ts)
  2. Ghana (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solos: LC - bs, SF - g)
  3. Birth Of A Band (The Ray Charles Orchestra; chase: DN and DW - ts)
  4. Roll In G (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solos SF - g, David Newman - fl, Don Wilkerson - ts; Hank Crawford played organ)
  5. Along Came Betty (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: MB - tp)
  6. One Mint Julep (With The Ray Charles Orchestra)
  7. From the Heart (With The Ray Charles Orchestra)
  8. Moanin’ (With The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: PG - tp))
  9. Let The Good Times Roll (solo: DN - ts)
  10. Georgia On My Mind (solo: DN - fl)
  11. Hallelujah I Love Her So (solo: DW - ts)
  12. Just For A Thrill
  13. Margie
  14. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (solo: MB - tp)
  15. I Believe To My Soul
  16. My Bonnie (solo: DN - ts)
  17. I Wonder
  18. Sticks and Stones
  19. My Baby (I Love Her, Yes I Do; ft. Margie Hendricks)
  20. Hit The Road Jack
  21. Come Rain Or Come Shine (solo: DW - ts)
  22. What’d I Say
  23. What’d I Say (Reprise)

B. Concert of Sunday October 22, 1961, afternoon
Original tape INA ID LVZA/14; current IDs for copies PHZ07003992 and LP59631.
A selection of tracks from this concert were broadcast by Paris Inter on October 29, in the Jazz sur Scène series, presented by André Francis (freely available via the INA website). The complete concert was aired by Paris Inter on April 13, 1962.
In March 2013 the contents of this latter broadcast were made available, in its entirety, for download to the general public on the INA website, against a small charge.
Through this release, the Ray Charles Orchestra recordings of Happy Faces (penned by Sonny Stitt), Whisper Not (Benny Golson), Dat Dere (Bobby Timmons), Ghana (Ernie Wilkins), Along Came Betty (Benny Golson), (In My) Solitude (Duke Ellington) in an arrangement by Quincy Jones, and Roll In G (probably written by Ray Charles) were made available to the public for the very first time.



  1. Happy Faces (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: DN - ts)
  2. Whisper Not (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: DN - ts)
  3. Dat Dere (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: HC - as)
  4. Ghana (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solos: LC - bs, SF - g)
  5. Along Came Betty (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: MB - tp)
  6. (In My) Solitude (The Ray Charles Orchestra)
  7. Birth Of A Band (The Ray Charles Orchestra; chase: DN and DW - ts)
  8. Roll in G (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solos SF - g, David Newman - fl, Don Wilkerson - ts; Hank Crawford played organ)
  9. Ray Minor Ray (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solos: DN, DW - ts, MB, PG - tp) 
  10. One Mint Julep (With The Ray Charles Orchestra)
  11. Doodlin’ (With The Ray Charles Orchestra; solos: RC - o, PG - tp, DN - ts, LC - bs)
  12. From the Heart (With The Ray Charles Orchestra)
  13. Hallelujah I Love Her So (solo: DW - ts)
  14. Georgia On My Mind (solo: DN - fl)
  15. Margie
  16. I’ve Got News For You
  17. Moanin’ (With The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: PG - tp)
  18. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (solo: MB - tp)
  19. I Believe To My Soul
  20. My Bonnie (solo: DN - ts)
  21. I Wonder
  22. Yes Indeed
  23. My Baby (I Love Her, Yes I Do (ft. Margie Hendricks)
  24. Hit The Road Jack
  25. I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town (solo: PG - tp)
  26. What’d I Say
C. Concert of Sunday October 22, 1961, evening
Original tape INA ID LVZA/15.
The tracks below that are marked with an asterisk (*) were provided to Italian RAI Radio by Radio France in 1981, as a consequence of an exchange program. They are currently only known from a copy circulating among Ray Charles fans.
The other tracks in this list were part of the same tapes, and are best known  from the Italian CD Ray Charles In Paris LIVE (Isabel BJ001CD), which was sold with an issue of Blue Jazz magazine. This CD was the origin of a bunch of subsequent bootleg CD releases.
  1. Happy Faces (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: DN - ts)*
  2. Along Came Betty (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: MB - tp)*
  3. Ghana (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solos: LC - bs, SF - g)*
  4. Blue Stone (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solos: HC - as, PG - tp, LC - bs)*
  5. Dat Dere (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: HC - as)*
  6. Birth Of A Band (The Ray Charles Orchestra; chase: DN and DW - ts)*
  7. Whisper Not (The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: DN - ts)*
  8. One Mint Julep (With The Ray Charles Orchestra)*
  9. Doodlin’ (With The Ray Charles Orchestra; solos: RC - o, PG - tp, DN - ts, LC - bs)*
  10. Moanin’ (With The Ray Charles Orchestra; solo: PG - tp)*
  11. Let The Good Times Roll (solo: DN - ts)
  12. Come Rain Or Come Shine (solo: DW - ts)
  13. Hallelujah I Love Her So (solo: DW - ts)
  14. I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town (solo: PG - tp)
  15. Margie
  16. Georgia On My Mind (solo: DN - fl)
  17. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (solo: MB - tp)
  18. I Wonder
  19. My Bonnie (solo: DN - ts)*
  20. My Baby (I Love Her, Yes I Do (ft. Margie Hendricks)*
  21. Hit The Road Jack
  22. I Believe To My Soul
  23. What’d I Say
Release history
Some time in the 1990s the obscure Italian magazine Blu Jazz was able to surprise their readership with a sealed-in premium pressing to one of their editions, under the title Ray Charles In Paris - Live; Palais Des Sports 22 Ottobre 1961, issued on the Isabel label. It presented 12 tracks.
Later, the same content was the subject of a whole slew of bootleggish (re-)releases. In their series "The Golden Age Of Jazz", a slightly less obscure Italian label, Suisa, brought their 10th CD, X. Ray Charles - Genius + Soul = Jazz. Live! (JZCD 310; also released on cassette tape JZMC 310), to the collectors' market. This CD got a much wider distribution, and is still for sale through several web shops (frequently also through Amazon UK - ASIN: B00004VOE1 - where SBA is currently mentioned as the record label).
Then there is a CD titled Ray Charles - Paris '66, and subtitled Ray Charles - Palais des Sports - Paris - October 22, 1966. The wrong year probably was an attempt to obscure the source of this release. 
In June 2013 the little known record label Body & Soul re-released the same materials as a download-and-streaming-audio only digital album, titled Ray Charles - Live In Paris; October 22, 1961. In 2014 the Frémeaux label re-released the Body & Soul selections in a 3-CD set under the title Ray Charles - Live In Paris 20-21 Octobre 1961 / 17-18-20-21 Mai 1962 (FA5466).

BD Music in France released a Ray Charles 2-CD in their BD Blues series (23 September 2010; BDBL194 - BD100, EAN : 9782849071946; don't miss this nice clickable brochure). It contained two of the formerly unknown tracks from the October '61 concert(s) in Paris (INA ID LP5963-E):
  • Yes Indeed
  • My Baby (I Love Her, Yes I Do)




An incidental alternate version of What'd I Say, taped at one of the other October concerts, was released on the LP Europa Jazz (various artists; EJ 1001; Amazon ASIN nr B0030FEOR2), which also contained an October 1961-version of Come Rain Or Come Shine.

What'd I Say was also released on The Ray Charles Collection (DéjaVu, CD 2005), and  on an 'old' vinyl LP, I Giganti Del Jazz 1, which - as good as sure from the same concert(-series?) - also contained Georgia.

Personnel
Musicians: Marcus Belgrave, Wallace Davenport, Phil Guilbeau, John Hunt - trumpets; Henderson Chambers, Leon Comegys, James Lee Harbert, Keg Johnson - trombones; Hank Crawford (alto saxophone, organ on Roll in G, band leader), Rudy Powell - alto saxophone; David Newman - tenor saxophone, flute; Don Wilkerson - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Bruno Carr - drums; Sonny Forriest - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass. The Raelettes: Priscilla “Pat” Moseley Lyles, Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, Darlene McCrea.

Documentation

Clipping from the Chicago Defender, Oct. 28, 1961. The band embarking for Europe in mid October, from Idlewild Airport. 

From Jazz Hot, Dec. 1961. Marcus Belgrave stepping forward for a trumpet solo.

From Jazz Magazine 77, Dec. 1961.
Photos of individual members of Ray's band are extremely rare, but the series reproduced at the top of this article (from contemporary magazine articles in Jazz Magazine and Jazz Hot) even include a number of excellent close-ups. The photographer of most or all of these pics was J.P. Leloir.
Here come the most interesting remaining pics:
Sax section with David Newman, Rudy Powell, Don Wilkerson, Leroy Cooper.

Cover of Jazz Magazine 77, Dec 1961 (collection J.P. Verger).

Clipping from unidentified magazine.
From a photo print, dated 24 October, offered on Ebay.
Ray at his Hammond.

Photo by Philippe Gras, attributed by source to '68 show at La Pleyel, but it must be from one of the '61 concerts.

Photo by Hervé Gloaguen.






Getty hasn't credited any photographer for these four photos.



From a story related to Ray's drugs problems, in Ciné Revue, 1961.

From Jazz Hot, #17, Nov. 1961 (collection J.P. Verger).

From Jazz Hot, #17, Nov. 1961 (collection J.P. Verger).

The Raelettes, from right to left: Priscilla “Pat” Moseley Lyles, Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Darlene McCrea  (collection J.P. Verger).

The Raelettes, from left to right: Priscilla “Pat” Moseley Lyles, Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Darlene McCrea(collection J.P. Verger).

From Jazz Hot, Dec. 1961: Priscilla “Pat” Moseley Lyles, Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Darlene McCrea (collection J.P. Verger).
From the legacy of Kurt Mohr - a Swiss citizen, living in Paris, who established the European jazz discography tradition as we know it today, and who, contrary to most jazz discographers, always also dealt with Blues and R&B, and became the specialist in this area - I can also present the following snap shots:
Phil Guilbeau, John Hunt, Kurt Mohr, David Newman.
Leroy Cooper and Kurt Mohr.
Kurt Mohr and Ray Charles.

And then there were a number of publicity shoots during the band's stay in Paris, some with excellent results (the first black and white balcony photo below, by Claude Azoulay for Paris-Match, is famous):
(Mirrored).
From an article in Paris Match, Nov. 1961 (coll. J.P. Verger).
Leaving his hotel before the concerts; from Cinémonde N° 1419, Oct. 17; coll. André Monnot).


For (links to) more photos see the 1961 Chronology page.

Curiosa 

Concert posters at Palais des Sports. The police are
detaining FLN demonstrators at the venue, on Oct. 17.
Photos by Patrice Gabans/Getty.
In July 1961 a Dutch newspaper announced that Marlene Dietrich would perform during the intermissions of Ray's October concerts. Not true;-!
Use this as a starting point for the much sadder story on the "Algerian" October riots in Paris, and Ray's (marginal) role in them.

Desiderata
These truly historical concerts deserve an "audiophile" release, also to put an end to all dilettante bootleg releases. A "final" search for all surviving tapes should be conducted in the vaults of INA (and preferably also in the archives of other national radio organizations in Europe). Alternate versions should be analyzed. The best tracks should be selected for a balanced basic release, but of course I'd like to see the alternative takes added as bonus materials!
The good news is that most of the selection work has already been done by Joël Dufour, who in 1989 and 1990 successfully intermediated in a preliminary agreement between Ray Charles Enterprises and a French record company to issue a Double-CD with a selection of 24 tracks from the October concerts. (Why this initiative did not reach the market, is a separate, sad and sometimes funny story, which once may be told by Dufour himself).
Such a release, of course, would also be an excellent occasion to write and publish the amazing and necessary "1961 - 2001 Reception History of Ray Charles in France".

Many thanks to J.P. Verger, André Monnot - and to Jean-François Pitet of the Hi de Ho blog for providing me with some newspaper clippings. Special thanks to Jeff Helgesen for identifying Solitude. Very special thanks to J. Dufour for his - as always - very valuable input.