Steve Wonder blends hits at Montreux for Quincy Jones




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Montreaux (Switzerland) – Motown legend Stevie Wonder gave a soulful two-hour concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival Wednesday night, blending with covers of the Beatles and Michael Jackson.

The thoroughly enthralled audience included world renowned producer, Quincy Jones.

The African-American singer and songwriter headlined the 48th edition of the prestigious Swiss festival, fulfilling a longtime wish of its late founder Claude “Funky” Nobs.

“Tonight’s show is dedicated to a man who talked with me so long about doing this event.

“He is watching up in heaven — Mr Nobs,” Wonder told the sold- crowd of some 4,000 fans.

Addressing Jones, a former co-director of Montreux who was seated in the front row, Wonder said: “Not only a brother but a friend, I’m so grateful I’ve known him since I was 14 years .

“He brought Michael Jackson and so many young artists.”

Wonder, a 22-time Grammy winner who has been blind birth, displayed versatility, playing piano, harmonica and percussion.

He was backed by 10 musicians and four vocalists.

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He alternated hit singles, including “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)”, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”, “I Just Called to Say I You” with the Beatles hit “Day Tripper”.

The versatile artist also rendered Paul McCartney’s “Ebony and Ivory” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”, the best-selling “Thriller” album produced by Jones.

During “Living for the ”, about a Mississippi boy encountering racism and New York drug pushers, he said: “How I wish I didn’t have to write a song like this.

“But I had to write it, because it’s true. There is prejudice in the world.”

Wonder, 64, closed the show with “Superstition”, bringing fans in the front rows of seats — who paid 480 Swiss francs ($530) a ticket — to feet.

“It’s been a wonderful night. I was a bit late coming because I wasn’t feeling good at all. But we had such a good time,” he said, apologising for arriving than an hour late.

“Maybe we’ll come back next year,” he added.

Some fans who spent 185 Swiss francs ($210) to stand, were unable to even enter the packed Auditorium Stravinski, where several women collapsed from the heat and crowded conditions.

Vanessa Huguenin, taking a break from the overflowing hall, said: “He’s great, impressive and sounds so good live. I brought my 7-year- son to a historic concert.” (Reuters/NAN)

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