"I know those songs as vocal performances," Scofield tells me. "If I could play exactly as Ray sang it, I would." At Berklee, Scofield will not only play with his trio, but also jam with country mandolin star Skaggs — the kind of unlikely matchup that Charles would probably appreciate. It also recalls the resistance Charles first got from ABC record execs who didn't think an R&B star should record a country album. "This has always been true in music," says Scofield. "People are always bigger than the bag they're supposed to be in."

"INSPIRED BY RAY: THE RAY CHARLES SYMPOSIUM," Berklee College of Music, various locations | September 21-23 | INSPIRAYTION: A TRIBUTE TO RAY CHARLES [concert] | Berklee Performance Center, 136 Mass Ave, Boston | September 22 @ 8 pm | $15-$35 | berklee.edu 

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