Stevie Wonder Joins Gregory Porter Onstage at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival (Video)

Kristoffer Juel Poulsen,

The two join forces on "Free," a song about the Detroit riots on soul-jazz singer Porter's Blue Note debut, "Liquid Spirits."

The Copenhagen Jazz Festival is always filled with pleasant surprises, and the 2014 edition of the 10-day celebration has been no exception. Besides programming offbeat shows like the pairing of Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson with rock guitarist Thurston Moore, a seemingly conventional concert by headlining American soul-jazz singer Gregory Porter suddenly turned into a major musical event with a special (and unplanned) guest appearance from none other than Stevie Wonder.

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Wonder and his large entourage — straight from their previous night’s gig at the neighboring Roskilde Music Festival — attended Porter’s show on very short notice. As a result, Porter was totally unaware of Wonder’s presence until just prior to the encore and was obviously very excited and moved by the news. Porter graciously praised and introduced Stevie (seated in the box usually reserved for Danish royalty) and then invited the iconic singer to please join him onstage.

When speaking onstage, Stevie sheepishly confessed that he was a little jealous of Mr. Porter because Wonder’s daughter, Aisha, is such a huge fan of the young man. After addressing Porter as a talented, rising star worthy of much attention and great accolades, Wonder spoke of being present for the Detroit riots in 1967. Then, as if on cue, the two men launched into Porter’s own song about those Detroit riots and the ongoing need for civil rights entitled “Free” from his Blue Note debut album, Liquid Spirits.

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The Copenhagen crowd was predictably ecstatic, and everybody stood as Wonder jammed along on the harmonica and also sang on the inspirational song. This was Porter’s first visit to Denmark and to be sure his legend is growing, as it was a most memorable evening for all in attendance. The Copenhagen Jazz Festival continues through Sunday, July 13, so let’s hope for more wonderful surprises like this one.