InspiRAYtion: The Music of Ray Charles was the capstone concert of a weekend-long symposium (September 21–23) on the pianist’s work and legacy held by the American Roots Music Program at the Berklee College of music. The mixture of Charles’s devotees, colleagues, personal friends, and a striking number of blind musicians and members of the blind community that packed the sold out Berklee performance were treated to two hours and 15 minutes of sublime musical tribute—no intermission, no holding back, and no letting up.
The man behind the project was Matt Glaser, head of the Roots Music Program, and long time chair of Berklee’s string department. In addition to being a first-rate violinist in roots and jazz traditions, Glaser is an authority on the instrument’s role in American music and a dynamic and eloquent clinician with a wicked sense of humor. Playing on the symposium’s thesis that “all the great steams of American music flow through Ray Charles,” he sought to represent each one on the stage