Keith Richards has been a tear lately, turning up all over the place in support of his new solo album, Crosseyed Heart. Last night, the guitarist took time out from his packed schedule to appear at the Jazz Foundation of America‘s annual A Great Night in Harlem benefit concert at the Apollo Theater, playing both the Exile on Main Street favorite “Happy” and the immortal “Gimme Shelter.” Richards performed the latter song in honor of Merry Clayton, who sang on the original studio version and was seriously injured in a car accident last year.
The concert, which raised money to provide medical care and other assistance to jazz and blues musicians in need, also featured all-star tributes to late civil-rights activist Julian Bond and 85-year-old jazz legend Sonny Rollins. Among the musicians and speakers on hand were Danny Glover, Keb’ Mo’, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen and Rollins himself.
Richards closed out the evening with a tribute to Clayton, who wasn’t on hand but accepted the JFA’s Clark & Gwen Terry Award for Courage via a pre-recorded segment. A standing ovation for Clayton preceded Richards’ appearance. “Now you know how many friends you got, honey,” the guitarist said as he took the stage. Backing Richards was his trusty longtime band, the X-Pensive Winos, featuring guitarist Waddy Wachtel, keyboardist Ivan Neville, bassist Willie Weeks and drummer Steve Jordan (also the night’s musical director), along with vocalists Sarah Dash (of LaBelle), and longtime Stones backup singers Lisa Fischer and Bernard Fowler.
(courtesy of http://www.rollingstone.com)