When the Rolling Stones were just lads trying to play some blues, it was Ian Stewart who pushed jazz and held a day job in order to pay for rehearsal room fees. Although dismissed from the lineup in 1963, Stewart remained an integral part of the Stones as road manager and session pianist. Stewart’s career continued to flourish, and along the way, happened to inspire a 9-year-old Ben Waters. On this tribute, Stewart’s life is celebrated by both those who knew him best and those he influenced.
Opener “Boogie Woogie Stomp” rejoices with Waters’ piano prowess, which carries ten of the eleven tracks. A heavy take on “Worried Life Blues” uniquely blends Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood on vocals as Charlie Watts lays the foundation on skins. Mick Jagger’s voice tickles the spine on Dylan’s “Watching the River Flow,” as the other Stones join in and a wonderful brass section sheds new light.
“Ian Stewart, I’m still working for him. To me, the Rolling Stones are his band. Without his knowledge and organization, without the leap he made…to take a chance playing with a bunch of kids, we’d be nowhere,” confesses Keith Richards.