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20 June 2008


Jeff Albert

I'm all in on the "Stevie is the baddest living musician, period" bandwagon.

I had the honor of being in the horn section for the house band for a concert that happened on the one year anniversary of Katrina. It was a big show in the New Orleans Arena, with lots of gospel acts, Wynton (who had a hand in making it happen) and Stevie Wonder was the headliner. At rehearsal, we went through the two things we knew we would do with Stevie, plus several other things that were possibilities.

He did the Giant Steps thing in rehearsal. It was the first thing he played when he sat down at the piano, and after the head, he played much of Trane's solo. On the gig we played Ribbon in The Sky" and he called Wynton (who was hiding out back in the horn section for Stevie's part of the show) up. They traded for a while, with Stevie playing harmonica. Wynton sounded really good, but Stevie totally piped him. Not that "play a million notes, I got chops for days" piped him. Stevie just played such incredibly deep soulful shit (ON A HARMONICA) that there seemed to be nothing left to play after he stopped. Wynton actually walked off while Stevie was still playing. It was the most musical thing to do, there was nothing that could be added in good taste. Stevie called him back and they did "Giant Steps." Stevie didn't solo, he let Wynton have it all.

We did "Livin for the City" that night, which was great, but the highlight of the night, was "Heaven Help Us All." I still can't hear that tune without tearing up.

Andrew Durkin

If there's a fan club starting, I'll join.

I've noticed, after many hours behind the wheel of a tour van, that Mr. Wonder is one of the few "sure thing" choices when it comes time to pop something in the CD player -- his music is more or less guaranteed to satisfy the tastes and moods of everyone in the vehicle.

Great review, Darcy; great story, Jeff.


Agreed - the greatest. "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" just kills me every time.


Thanks for the great review, Darcy. I'm trying to keep up with my blog. Not always easy given the rigors of road life! : >


I saw him on Sunday just outside boston. It was an amazing treat to see him and I had amazing seats. The downside to the whole show though was the "contest winner" singing w/ Stevie. Better planning would have knocked this show out of the park. I have a few shots on my blog, more images and longer review to come post vacation. Boston.com had a good review and the last 2 paragraphs sum up my experience totally.


I saw Stevie play at Madison Square Garden in November, and it was amazing! My friend and I had to promise to call each other the next day, so that we still had something to live for. Brilliance, that man!

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