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05 July 2010

Ray Charles Live In A Garden State Salute (2002)

Set list (order unsure):
  • Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune) 
  • It Ain't Easy Being Green 
  • It Hurts To Be In Love 
  • Georgia On My Mind
  • Almost Like Being In Love 
  • Hey Girl 
  • Blues For Big Scotia 
  • A Song For You 
  • Chain Of Fools 
  • Guess Who I Saw Today 
  • Hit The Road Jack 
  • I Can't Stop Loving You 
  • What'd I Say 
The show aired as part of a three hour pledge special on December 7th. A Garden State Salute was broadcast by NJN, the New Jersey Public Television & Radio station on 7 December 2002.  According to another source, the event was to kick off a new game for the New Jersey Lottery as well as to announce new Ray Charles-branded slot machines, although such a hard commercial goal seems improbable for a PBS show (however, also cf. this story).
The performance was taped with The Rutgers University Orchestra and The Rutgers Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Victor Vanacore, at the Trenton War Memorial the day before. A Garden State Salute was nominated for a Mid Atlantic Emmy.
The musicians were "requested by Ray personally". The Jazz Ensemble had an earlier opportunity to play with Charles in 2000, at which point he said he would “[...] take that band on the road with me tomorrow”.

Update February 17, 2017:
A part of the concert recently emerged on YouTube. It shows that Ray brought his orchestra's rhythm section (Brad Rabuchin - g, Tom Fowler - b, and Peter Turre - d), Larry Foyen on lead trumpet, Wayne Coniglio on lead trombone, and his Raelettes (Estella Yarbrough, Renée Collins Georges, Karen Evans, Katrina Harper and Tonette McKinney). Victor Vanacore played a bit of piano.
An earlier YouTube clip (now deleted) entailed a rendition of It Ain't Easy Being Green. This selection (note #3) proves that the longlist quoted above is not complete:

01. Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune)
02. Hit The Road Jack
03. 3/4 Time
04. What'd I Say [truncated]

Who knows more about the destiny of the complete TV recording?

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