As a lead-up to Mardi Gras, New Orleans pianist Ivan Neville was booked for two solo shows at New York’s Blue Note jazz club this week, on Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 21 and 22). On Tuesday, Neville’s manager Jon Phillips learned that a very special guest would be attending the Wednesday show.
“Jane Rose called and said Keith Richards was coming,” Phillips tells Billboard (the Rolling Stones guitarist is managed by Rose). When Neville, who’s a member of Richards’ side-project, the X-Pensive Winos, learned about the request, he told Phillips to “get on this.” Phillips was in Los Angeles at the time and quickly booked a flight to New York so he could make the arrangements and also to see the show.
Richards arrived for the second set with a party of six that included producer Don Was and singer Lisa Fischer. The set included a version of the Stones’ country classic, “Wild Horses,” as well as covers of such New Orleans chestnuts as the Meters’ “People Say,” Lee Dorsey’s “Yes We Can” and Professor Longhair’s “Big Chief.” Richards did not join Neville on stage.
Afterwards, however, Richards and his posse met up with Neville backstage for what Phillips describes as “a jubilant hang.”