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Ray Charles returns to the stage

He will perform his first concert since hip-replacement surgery
/ Source: The Associated Press

Ray Charles says he’ll return to the stage in March after recovering from hip replacement surgery.

His March 2 concert at New York City’s Lincoln Center will be his first performance in eight months.

“I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of going back to work before the public I love,” Charles, 73, said in a statement Wednesday. “Music and performing are in my blood. I need them like oxygen.”

Charles last performed in July, but acute discomfort in his left hip forced the singer-pianist to cancel his remaining 2003 tour dates. It was the first time Charles canceled a tour in 53 years.

He is undergoing physical therapy at his Beverly Hills home and recording a duets album with several musicians, including Norah Jones, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson, spokesman Jerry Digney said.

A movie based on his life story, “Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story,” starring Jamie Foxx, has finished filming.