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David K. Mathews' Ray Charles Project 

When: Wed., Jan. 11, 8 p.m. 2012
Price: $16

There's no shortage of contemporary musicians who've used Ray Charles as a muse, from Kanye West -- who famously sampled "I Got a Woman" (albeit the Jamie Foxx version) for his hit song "Gold Digger" -- to local folks like Mike Irwin Johnson, whose fourteen-piece Rayband serves as an homage to the great bandleader. And now keyboardist David K. Matthews has followed suit. Famous for anchoring the rhythm sections of singer Etta James, Oakland soul group Tower of Power, and Santana, Matthews is thoroughly steeped in the blues. He's devised an interesting configuration for the Ray Charles Project, placing himself on organ and Chris Cain on piano. He'll also feature two well-established balladeers, Glenn Walters (who humbly describes his voice as "warm" and "furry") and ex-Santana collaborator Tony Lindsay. Matthews promises the night will culminate with a jam session, which should be pretty satisfying given the caliber of these musicians. At Yoshi's (510 Embarcadero West, Oakland) on Wednesday, Jan. 11. 8 p.m., $16. Yoshis.com

— Rachel Swan

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