Roseanna Vitro's new tribute to Ray Charles, Catchin' Some Rays, the follow-up to her Telarc debut, Passion Dance, brings her musical odyssey full circle. She has come back to the kind of down-home roots music she sang growing up in Texas before she moved to Houston as a teenage shouter and was converted to modern jazz. This "musical odyssey" was started by her family, who taught her that music, no matter what genre, was the way to soothe the soul. That was the primary attraction to the genre-weaving music of Ray Charles, where one song can be gospel-like rock 'n' roll, and any album can range from jazz right on through country.
Roseanna has always had a flair for taking artistic chances and finding rare and unusual music for her albums. For Catchin' Some Rays, she sat down with all of Ray Charles music and chose songs that she related to personally, either through its message, lyric, melody or feeling, and thoughts about how she could present them in her own distinct style. The arrangements on this album can be attributed to both Roseanna and her long-time musical collaborators, producer Paul Wickliffe and arranger Ken Werner. They took each of the Ray Charles' arrangements and reworked them to Roseanna's style. While "Don't Need No Doctor" was done by Charles in a Motown mode, Roseanna has given it a 60s coffee house feel. She unleashes her sexy side on the classic "Unchain My Heart" and segues into a soulful and sultry version of "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'." Roseanna really gets to swing with David "Fathead" Newman on "Them That's Got." In contrast, she creates a poignant mood on one of Charles' lesser known tunes "Tell Me You'll Wait For Me," and really lets it rip on "Sticks and Stones," a funky New Orleans style juke.
Along with Werner on piano, the players on the album consist of a cast of musicians who shared her vision for the project, and her passion for the music. Directly from Ray Charles' band comes David "Fathead" Newman on tenor sax. Other featured soloists include Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Mitch Stein on guitar, Mark Johnson on tenor sax and flute, Ray Drummond on bass, Al Foster on drums, and Gary Smulyan on baritone.