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Phil Ramone, Merv Griffin Team Up For Benefit

On Friday, September 15 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, record producer Phil Ramone and Merv Griffin bonded together with some of Latin music's biggest names to create an impromptu fundraiser in honor of the policemen and firefighters in New York City. Proceeds from the event were donated to the American Red Cross.

That morning, Ramone and Griffin met with LARAS president Enrique Fernandez and NARAS president Michael Greene to discuss the possibility of creating an event to take place that night with the stranded Latin music artists who were originally in town for the now-cancelled Latin Grammy Awards. During that afternoon, Ramone and Griffin were able to contact most of the artist's representatives and put together an orchestra and rhythm section–fronted by Carlos Alomar, vice chairman of NARAS, and including a special appearance by acclaimed musician Michael Melvoin–to make it happen. The result: a two-hour night of music and remembrance.

Among the participating artists were: Juanes, Celia Cruz, Joan Osborne, Chucho Valdes, Isaac Delgado, Shalim, Bacilos, Laura Pausini, Jose de Eusbio, Francisco Cespedes, Alejandra Guzman, Ruben Blades, David Foster and Josh Groban.

Also on-hand was actor Kevin Spacey, who performed a heartfelt rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with David Foster accompanying on the piano. Nina Whitaker performed the national anthem. In all, over 400 people were in attendance.

"We had a tremendous desire to do something," Ramone noted. "The artists who participated came and rehearsed as quickly as they could. Nobody had any egos. It was an emotionally charged night."