BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – An eclectic lineup of musicians honored Ray Charles (search) in a tribute concert, praising the late singer's rich life and his ability to transcend race and musical genres.
"Make no mistake about it, there will be no pity party," said music producer Quincy Jones (search), who met Charles when the two were teens.
Jones told the packed audience at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Wednesday night that Charles "lived more lives than any 900 of you. In his last days, he told me, 'Man, I've already lived it all.'"
Performers included Stevie Wonder (search), country singer Travis Tritt, former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald, and R&B artists James Ingram and Patti Austin. They sang Charles' hits, such as "Georgia On My Mind," "What I'd Say" and "Hit the Road Jack."
Bill Cosby (search) was host of the event, which raised money for the $15 million Morehouse College Center for the Arts in Atlanta. Charles gave the black liberal arts college $2 million to help fund the complex, which will contain a performance space in his name.
Cosby shared some of his favorite memories of the singer, who had been blind since age 7. He recalled how during a jazz festival at the Hollywood Bowl, Charles appeared on stage with a band of all white musicians.
"I said to Ray, 'Your band is all white.' He said, 'That's funny. They don't sound white.'"
Charles was 73 when he died of acute liver disease June 10.