September 4, 1983 – A record that stood for all of 24 hours is broken as 93,000 people flock to Grant Park to hear Ray Charles at the Chicago Jazz Festival after 82,000 had attended the festival on the preceding evening. Backing up the virtuoso performer is a group billed as the Ray Charles Reunion Band, musicians who had key roles in the early days of Ray Charles’s career … horn players Marcus Belgrave and Phil Guilbeau, and reedmen Hank Crawford, David Newman and Leroy Cooper. Guitarist Phil Upchurch and drummer Bernard Purdie complete the band. Music critic Larry Kart’s review in the Chicago Tribune makes reference to the energy that Charles exhibited as a result of the reunion, writing “… one had only to look at the ecstatic way Charles slid along the piano bench to know that this was one of his nights for serious playing and singing.” [Chicago Tribune, September 5, 1983]. Songs on the set list included “I Got a Woman,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Hot Rod,” and “Drown in My Own Tears”. Attendance for the five-night run of the festival, the fifth annual jazz festival held at the Petrillo Band Shell, totaled 257,000.
September 4, 1973 – The City Council subcommittee on finance approves an ordinance calling for the construction of the Columbus Drive bridge over the Chicago River. It is expected that the ordinance will move on to the full finance committee within the week and from there move to the City Council for final approval. It passes despite the objections of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association which predicts that a bridge at Columbus Drive will cause gridlock north of the river. The ordinance includes a proposal for the city to spend $180,000 to complete plans for the bridge, along with $580,000 for engineering and property acquisition costs. Four blocks of land approximately 110 feet wide along Fairbanks Court between the river and Ohio Street must be purchased in order to connect Columbus Drive south of the river to Ohio Street to the north. The State of Illinois is expected to underwrite the cost of the bridge, expected to cost about $10 million. The executive director of the North Michigan Avenue Association says that the organization will demand a state and federal environmental impact statement concerning the bridge before it is built.