Ray Charles is a celebrated musician whose name reigns among those respected in the contemporary music scene. The music sensational has greatly contributed towards the emancipation of the jazz as a genre of music, which was initially associated with the black Americans. His contribution is thus applauded by many who consider him as a major influence in the contemporary music scene. Commonly cited as "the genius of soul music”, the famous American jazz musician Ray Charles was exceptionally admired as a soul and R&B music singer, gifted pianist, and prominent composer.
Ray Charles contribution to the soul and R&B music scene is widely recognized by many listeners of the two genres of music. Through out his performances he was known to cherish a much simpler approach especially in majority of his soul and R&B concerts. According to a witness named Adams he recalls his concerts as follows, “What I loved most about Ray was his plain speak approach to life. You always knew you stood with Ray...Despite his artistically and financially, he was humble. He never travelled with an entourage” (Johnson, 2004). This made him accumulate many fans compared with other musicians of his time. Apart from his sensational soul and R&B rhythms people not only considered him within this realms but they widened there approach towards socially, emotionally, and spiritually by considering his music as having an admirable effect on the listeners. Furthermore, “Ray Charles continued to mix musical styles at will, and with great success, scoring major hits on the R&B, country, soul, and pop charts” (The Ray Charles Foundation, 2010).
Ray Charles was regarded by many as a professional pianist who influenced the place and position of piano playing today based on many aspects. Some of these musicians included Quincy Jones as seen in, “Quincy befriended a local singer pianist…Ray Charles” (Academy of Achievement, 2006). His career as a professional pianist spanned from many years to the current celebrated times of the musician. During his younger days he worked partly with the famous group known as the hilly bands as a pianist, clarenist, and saxophonist (The Ray Charles Foundation, 2010). This rare ability to juggle among various key musical instruments especially during live performances gave him much accolade in comparison to the other musicians of his time. Virtually very few artists has this rare ability of playing the piano and sing almost perfectly at the same time (Charles & Ritz, 2003). Nothing stopped his dying affection for the piano. In fact, in his younger days, “Because he had no piano at home, he had a tendency to monopolize the union’s piano, to the chagrin of some members” (Winski, 1994).
The refined ability to compose valuable music content that would cut across generational barriers made him win over many admirers in the pop music culture. As he himself put it at one time, “…Music to me is my blood, its my breathing, its my everything, its my everything…And I’m going to do it until God himself says ‘Brother Ray you’ve been a good horse but now am going to put you out to pasture” (Lydon, 2004). This statement serves to emphasize his profound abilities in the music compositions he personally wrote. He had essentially mastered the art of composition as if it was essentially an ingrown thing to him and the manner in which his musicals were delivered added value to his compositions (Hendricks, 2008). This inherent ability to compose classical music pieces, for instance, the much acclaimed ‘Georgia in my mind’ lead to the recycling of some of his tunes in the modern music fraternity. This factor shows the manner in which his prominence not only ended with listeners as admirers but also included famous modern music personalities some of whom redid his tunes with an aim of immortalizing his profound music composing abilities.