Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ray Charles Romps in Moscow

Ray Charles, the gravel-voiced rhythm and blues pioneer, arrived in Moscow on Wednesday to perform at the Second International Jazz Festival.


As he cruised from the V.I.P. lounge at Sheremetyevo airport to a waiting limousine, the blind singer and pianist made one brief comment to the hovering press.


"I think it's going to be just marvelous, my dear," he said, and zoomed off in the direction of the Metropol Hotel.


Four hours later about 2,000 spectators at the Rossiya Concert Hall heard Charles provide a night of vintage jazz.


Assisted by his orchestra and backup singers, the Raelettes, Charles toured the genres for 90 minutes: big band jazz instrumentals; R&B-flavored show tunes and souped-up gospel. With an enthusiasm that nearly sent him flying off his piano stool, the singer, 63, delivered crowd-pleasing hits such as "Georgia on My Mind," "Hit the Road, Jack," and his rousing cover of the Country and Western song "I Can't Stop Loving You."


But with official ticket prices as high as 200,000 rubles ($100) a head, the audience fell short of the concert hall's 2,500-seat capacity and scalperswere forced to sell at a loss, with some tickets as low as 15,000 rubles.