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04 April 2010

Ray Charles In An American Reunion New Beginnings, Renewed Hope

Photo clipping from Jet magazine.
An American Reunion New Beginnings, Renewed Hope, directed by Bruce Gowers, was a co-production of the Quincy Jones Media Group and the Clinton Presidential Inaugural Committee, recorded on 17 January 1993 by HBO. It was the first presidential inaugural entertainment event.
On camera were Ruben Blades, Tony Bennett, a saxophone group consisting of David Sanborn, Grover Washington, Jr., Curtis Stigers, Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Tom Scott, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Koz, and  Michael Brecker.
Furthermore: Luther Vandross, Ben E. King, and Melissa Etheridge (Stand By Me), Kenny Rogers, Wes Studi, Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, James Ingram, Ashford & Simpson (The Battle Hymn Of The Republic), Bob Dylan (Chimes Of Freedom), Kathleen Battle and Kenny G. (We Shall Overcome), Aretha Franklin (Respect), Diana Ross (God Bless America), Tyne Daly (Everything's Coming Up Roses) and a big part of the We Are The World 'choir', strengthened by Aretha Franklin (who first seems to be overly happy to hand over the phone after jodeling a single line, then claims an extra round of applause for conductor Quincy Jones).
In the credits Ray is mentioned as being part of performing We Are The World, but if he was, he must have missed his cue. He makes good on that in an excellent rendition of his late life signature song, America The Beautiful, supported by the whole We Are The World group, starring (after some repeated inviting gestures of Diana Ross) Aretha Franklin.
Shortly after he starts, Ray can't avoid to let Quincy (and the world) know that the band is playing "too fast".

We Are The World + at the end the first 60 - 70 seconds of America The Beautiful:

Here's some more via C-Span:

The event was also covered by ABC News. Source: ABC News Video Source, Tape Number: DCBH56204C.

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