I find every second of this thirteen minute clip of Ray Charles rehearsing ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’ with an orchestra that he’s clearly never worked with before absolutely mesmerizing. Charles’ clarity and precision with what he wants (needs, really) from the band and his direct and not entirely patient process is a marvel to behold. It takes him eight minutes to get the band up to speed and from there on out they sound like they’ve been playing together for years. He is both exacting and generous–when he asks for the viola’s to point up two notes in an important musical transition and they do, his joy and thrill with the two session players makes them smile and feel great! What a pleasure it must have been to please this legend and back him if only for a session or two. I have no idea who shot this, when it was shot or why but the fact that it’s a single take makes me wonder if its on film with sync sound or some kind of video–though the high quality makes me suspicious of the latter since it had to have been shot pre-1990s. Charles’ charisma, his delight, his infectious symbiosis with the music is one of a kind. Dig it.


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