Ray Charles forum set for Nov. 30 at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum; Saxophonist David ‘Fathead’ Newman and biographer David Ritz to appear

The co-writer of the autobiography of Ray Charles, along with the director of the Nashville Jazz Orchestra and Charles’ longtime saxophonist, will discuss the late music great during “SoBro Sessions: Remembering Brother Ray” at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum on Friday, November 30.

The noon to 1 p.m. lecture, sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, takes place in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Ford Theater. Free box lunches will be handed out at 11:30 a.m. Capacity for the free lecture is 200 people. Reservations are required to attend and will be accepted until all seats are filled at 615-322-8585 or via e-mail at cngr@vanderbilt.edu.

Memories of Charles – known for his pre-rock ‘n’ roll fusing of gospel and rhythm and blues – will be discussed by David “Fathead” Newman, saxophonist and longtime Charles friend and bandmember; David Ritz, co-author with Charles of the autobiography Brother Ray; and Jim Williamson, director of the Nashville Jazz Orchestra.

Newman played on Charles hits including “What’d I Say,” “Unchain My Heart” and the Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music albums.

“Ray and I clicked as musicians and friends,” Newman said. “Knowing Ray, my appreciation of music opened up and my playing got bluesier.”

Newman will perform Saturday, Dec. 1, at Vanderbilt. The 8 p.m. concert at the Martha Rivers Ingram Performance Hall at Blair School of Music will feature Newman with the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, and a performance by The Blair Big Band. Billy Adair directs The Blair Big Band and Williamson directs the Nashville Jazz Orchestra.

Tickets for the concert cost $15, $10 for Vanderbilt faculty and $5 for Vanderbilt students with school identification. To purchase, call (615) 416-2001.

Vanderbilt has offered lunchtime seminars on various topics since 2002, through its InsideOut of the Lunch Box series with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the Thinking Out of the (lunch) Box series with the Nashville Public Library. “SoBro Sessions: Remembering Brother Ray” is the second lunchtime lecture in cooperation with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is currently presenting an extensive exhibit on Ray Charles, I Can’t Stop Loving You: Ray Charles and Country Music, Sponsored by SunTrust. The 5,000-square-foot installation includes artifacts, instruments, song manuscripts, costumes, photographs, computer interactives, recorded sound and moving images spanning the career of Charles, who died in 2004. The exhibit closes on Dec. 31.

Media Contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS

Liz Thiels, (615) 416-2006

Tina Wright, (615) 416-2084

Explore Story Topics