June 4: Ray Charles Made an Historic Reunion in Chicago On This Date in 1998

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By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Express Newspapers/Getty Images

The date June 4, 1998, was a heralded day for Black entertainment’s lineage inside America, which has existed in irreplaceable cultural antiquity.

According to the Music History Calendar’s comprehensive digital archives, this was the day the late and legendary singer Ray Charles reunited with the trailblazing band he originally would go on tour with to embark on an unforgettable performance.

Charles and his live band rocked the stage for legions of fans at an event, which was in celebration of his 50th year in show business at the 15th annual Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park.

“It’s a lowdown mournful feeling when a man and a woman don’t get along anymore, but it’s a feeling that gave birth to the blues, which in turn gave birth to the Chicago Blues Festival,” wrote Chicago Tribune columnist Joseph Sjostrom in a report published five days ahead of the Ray Charles reunion.

“Ray Charles and Otis Rush are among the blues artists scheduled to perform during the four-day festival; others include David “Flathead” Newman, Pinetop Perkins, Fat Possum Vanagan, David “Homeboy” Edwards, Homesick James, and Fruteland Jackson,” his article went on to read.

This event went down roughly six years before Universal Pictures released a 2004 biopic about Charles titled Ray (starring Jamie Foxx). Foxx won 2005’s “Best Actor” Oscar Award for portraying Charles in the film.


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