(CLEVELAND, OH) -- In celebration of what would have been his 91st birthday, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is proud to host a free virtual panel discussion on the life and career of Ray Charles. Panelists will discuss Tangerine Records, the label Charles founded in 1962, which recently released True Genius, the ultimate Ray Charles collection. The free virtual event will take place on Thursday, September 23rd from 7:00pm - 8:00pm on the Rock Hall’s YouTube channel.
True Genius, the collection features 90 of the greatest songs from the Inductee’s legendary career. The limited-edition six CD box set is newly remastered and contains a special bonus disc of eight previously unreleased tracks recorded live in Stockholm in 1972.
Event panelists include John Burk, producer on Charles' seminal duets album Genius Loves Company and current head of Exceleration Records, and David Ritz, music historian & author of Charles' biography Brother Ray. The panel will be moderated by Jason Hanley, the Rock Hall's Vice President of Education and Visitor Engagement and Andy Leach, the Rock Hall's Senior Director of Museum & Archival Collections.
John Burk: John Burk is multi-platinum and multiple GRAMMY award-winning producer as well as one of the founding partners of Concord Music. Under John’s creative direction, Concord diversified its artist roster and grew substantially from a highly respected boutique jazz label to become the largest independent music company in the world. Some of Burk’s notable artist signings include Ray Charles, James Taylor, Paul McCartney, George Benson, All Jarreau, Chick Corea, Keb’ Mo’, Billy Gibbons, Best Coast, Esperanza Spalding, Christian Scott, The Record Company, Southern Avenue, Nubya Garcia, Jazzmeia Horn, Santana, and many more. One of his productions, Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company, won 8 GRAMMY Awards, including Album of The Year and Record of The Year.
David Ritz: David Ritz, co-composer of “Sexual Healing,” has collaborated on books with, among others, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Janet Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Rick James, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Etta James and Lenny Kravitz. He is currently working with Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne.
On September 10th, Tangerine Records released True Genius, a newly remastered, limited edition set featuring 90 of the greatest songs from his legendary career and all of Ray’s biggest hits, and is now available to order here. The highly anticipated set, which has been featured in Rolling Stone and American Songwriter, includes a special bonus disc of eight previously unreleased tracks recorded live in Stockholm in 1972. True Genius is available today on all digital platforms, making dozens of Ray classics available at streaming services for the first time.
The digital release of True Genius marks the first time this incredible collection of Ray Charles most important works will be widely available on streaming platforms, bringing classic hits such as “Hit The Road Jack,” “Crying Time,” “Busted,” “America The Beautiful,” “A Song for You,” “Unchain My Heart,” and many, many more back to streaming after more than a decade.
The box set also includes a beautifully designed coffee table style book with rare, unseen photos, and detailed liner notes by Ray Charles Foundation President Valerie Ervin, legendary writer and music journalist A. Scott Galloway, and featuring a special message from Quincy Jones.
Ray Charles was equipped with a keen sensibility to the needs of others. It was this selfless generosity that motivated him when he founded, The Robinson Foundation for Hearing Disorders, Inc in 1986. The mission and purpose of the foundation was to provide financial support in the area of hearing disorders and support institutions and make donations to organizations for educational purposes. Charles thought “the inability to hear was a handicap, not the inability to see.” In 2006 the official name of the foundation became The Ray Charles Foundation, in order to bring awareness to his name but the mission remained the same. Ray Charles often made contributions anonymously to help fund cochlear implants for those who could not afford the operation, and shortly thereafter started supporting educational institutions for those who could not afford an education.
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