FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Scott Kenison or Bernice LaRosa
Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center
The Ray Charles Project Opens the Ninth Annual LVPAC Presents Season with the Unforgettable Music of an Undisputed Legend
LIVERMORE, CA – (August 20, 2015)
Celebrating the genius of a musical legend, the elite jazz and blues artists of The Ray Charles Project will offer their take on his unforgettable songs as LVPAC Presents launches its ninth season at the Bankhead Theater on Saturday, September 5, 2015. Started just a few years ago in the Bay Area, The Ray Charles Project has gained widespread attention for both the exceptional tribute it offers to Charles’ music and the impressive credentials of the musicians united on stage. Santana vocalist Tony Lindsay, guitarist Chris Cain, David K. Matthews on keyboards, Glenn Walters on vocals, bassist DeWayne Pate, and drummer Deszon Claiborne deliver their own take on such familiar hits from Ray Charles’ songbook as “Georgia on my Mind,” “Unchain my Heart,” and “Hit the Road Jack.”
Now honored in virtually every music Hall of Fame with awards too numerous to count and a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Ray Charles was born in rural Georgia at the start of the Great Depression. The loss of his eyesight, which was complete and irrevocable by the age of seven, never held him back. He first learned classical piano while at the Florida State School for the Deaf and Blind, before branching out to the jazz and blues he heard on the radio. Over his long and remarkable career, Charles’ immense talent attracted a broad audience that crossed generations and genres. Effortlessly fusing elements of rhythm and blues, gospel, jazz, pop, rock and roll, and country, his irresistible and versatile musical style earned him loyal fans worldwide.
The connections between the musicians in The Ray Charles Project run deep, with links to many classic rock, R&B and jazz legends. Eleven-time Grammy Award winner Tony Lindsay is best known for his decades as lead vocalist with the Latin rock band Santana, but has also performed and recorded with such artists as Patti Austin, Aretha Franklin, and Steve Winwood. Now the keyboard player for Santana, Dave Mathews joined the funk/soul group Tower of Power as organist when he was just 23 years old, and for decades played keyboards for the Queen of R&B, Etta James. In addition to his acclaimed solo albums, Bay Area blues guitarist Chris Cain performed with such greats as Albert King, Albert Collins, Boz Scaggs, and Willie Nelson. Bassist DeWayne Pate has also worked with Boz Scaggs, as well as Maria Muldaur, Huey Lewis the News, and many others. As part of The Ray Charles Project however, all six powerhouse musicians join together solely to pay tribute to a phenomenal singer-pianist whose musical contributions continue to have an unmistakable influence on the artists of today.
LVPAC Presents showcases a year-round roster of acclaimed performers in music, dance, comedy, and other performing arts. “The 2015-2016 season is one of the broadest and most diverse we’ve ever offered,” said Executive Director Scott Kenison. “From the alluring music of the cosmopolitan band Pink Martini and the signature country sound of Rosanne Cash, to the exciting Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and chilling drama of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, these shows will satisfy and stimulate your senses, whether it’s something you’ve wanted to see for a long time or a show you never expected to attend,” he added. Reaching out to audiences old and new, LVPAC Presents’ ninth season also features artists representing nearly every continent, including the Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers, Christmas with the Celts, the Moscow Festival Ballet, GuGu Drums of China, and New Zealand’s Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.
The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center provides wide-ranging programs that give access to the arts for the Tri-Valley community and beyond. LVPAC Presents offers a diverse variety of exceptional music, dance and theatrical performances at the Bankhead Theater each year. The Bankhead Theater and the Bothwell Arts Center are home to nine resident performing arts companies and over 40 studio artists and cultural arts instructors. Between them, they have offered more than 500 public activities each year, from classes and workshops, to concerts, festivals and performances, as well as ArtWalk and extensive educational arts outreach. A list of upcoming performances at the Bankhead Theater, as well as activities at the Bothwell Arts Center, is available online at livermoreperformingarts.org