So, Another Ray Charles story, or: “When & Why I played bass with Ray” One summer we went to Europe for a several week tour, but without the whole RC Big Band, The plan was to do a series of one-nighters, each in a different city, with just Ray, his rhythm section (guitar, bass & drums), and the Raeletts. We would as a result, pick up a new local Big Band in each city. Another detail, the current RC bass player had to stay in the states for brain surgery (I’m not kidding!), so we brought a bass sub, who had previously played with Ray, out for the tour.

    So this tour was pretty grueling, each day started with a rehearsal with the local big band without Ray where the 3 of us in the rhythm section would teach the band the show, followed by the show that night and then some time to sleep followed by a very early bus ride or flight to the next town to do that whole thing over again. Now mostly this was gigs back to back so for the most part no days off to recover. The bass player decided to indulge and party too much each night rather then take it easy and sleep in those brief periods when we could so by the time we arrived in Vienna, things went off the rails. He looked pretty pail and in mid rehearsal passed out and had to be rushed to the hospital, Now, what were we going to do to still pull of the concert that night? We could try to track down a local bass player at the last minute but a big problem is that, in particular for bass and drums and actually for guitar too, many the crucial elements and details are not notated on the charts. And Ray is particularly in tune to the rhythm section, so those missing details would be noticed. So the solution the drummer and I arrived at was that I would jump to bass and we would have to just go without guitar for the reasons just stated above. That was followed by the promoter tracking down a 4 string fender bass for me to play (I had enough on my table without dealing with the bass player’s exotic 6 string) and me trying to remember all the details of playing bass with Ray without really having considered any of that until now. Well, with some sweat and nerves I survived that night and Ray decided to continue the tour with me on bass until another RC band veteran (thank you Nils Johnson!) could be found and flown out to finish the tour.

     Well, that’s not the end of the story. So. I’m still on bass for a few more gigs and the next one is with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band which is one of the top big bands in Europe so that’s cool, but also, it’s gonna be broadcast live on radio and TV! So, another nervous night on a borrowed bass. Anyway, I noticed that they recently posted the full concert on You Tube so here’s Ray with me on bass doing a blues from that show: .