Mick Jagger, B.B. King and Jeff Beck are teaming up with musical up-and-comers at the White House to celebrate the blues.
Jagger tweeted that President Barack Obama popped in during a rehearsal for Tuesday’s A-list concert and “seemed really relaxed and happy!”
Grammy-winner Keb Mo, for his part, joked during a break in Tuesday morning’s rehearsal that Obama himself would be performing three numbers, and there could even be a record in the works. Mo joked that Obama’s record would be called, “After the second term, now I can finally get my groove on.”
The lineup for Tuesday’s concert spans generations, from legends like King and Buddy Guy to young faces such as 26-year-old Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Gary Clark Jr., whose style blends hip hop, contemporary soul and indie rock.
Andrews said he got a chill just hearing King play a few notes during rehearsal. He added that he was hoping to learn something – and maybe even borrow a few moves – from the veterans in the group.
Even in rehearsal, Andrews said, Jagger, the longtime Rolling Stones frontman, “was in character right away like he was playing in a stadium – all of the moves and things. I’m like, I’m going to steal some of those.”
At an afternoon blues workshop for middle school and high school students visiting the White House, first lady Michelle Obama declared, “Today, we’ve got the blues – but in a very good way.”
She called the blues an “art form that stirs our souls, and it helps us rise above all our struggles.”
The students got a preview of what awaited the president and Mrs. Obama, and TV viewers: Mo, Andrews and singer Shemekia Copeland performed a trio of numbers that got the students up out of their seats and clapping and singing along.
Also set to perform in the evening concert were Warren Haynes, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, with actress Taraji P. Henson as the program host and Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader.
The blues concert will be part of the “In Performance at the White House” series that airs on PBS. This one, designed to recognize Black History Month, will be broadcast on Feb. 27 on PBS stations and aired later on American Forces Network.