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Stones sidemen, and a Stone, roll at The Max

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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DETROIT -- It wasn't quite rock 'n' roll, but they still liked it, liked it, yes they did.

On Tuesday (July 7), the night before the Rolling Stones' concert at Comerica Park, fans got a bit of a treat when Stones touring saxophonist and Detroit native Tim Ries brought his Band2, which also includes Stones bassist Darryl Jones and backup vocalist Bernard Fowler, to The Max M. Fisher Music Center's Music Box for a Mix @ The Max performance featuring jazzy arrangements of Stones songs along with other material.

And best of all for a crowd of fans who sported T-shirts from previous tours, Ries brought along Stones' drummer Charlie Watts, an accomplished jazz player himself who sat in for a pair of standards -- the smooth "For All We Know" and the more aggressive "All Or Nothing At All" -- recorded by Frank Sinatra during the early 1940s. Introduced by Ries as "a new younger drummer just on the scene," the 74-year-old Watts sported a black leather jacket and red sweatshirt, as well as a smile, as he played; he also stuck around for the entirety of Band2's heavily improvised, rough-and-tumble 90-minute set, watching the rest from the side.

Ries and company -- including Detroit musicians Dwight Adams (of Stevie Wonder's band) on trumpet, Nate Winn on drums and Mark Nilan on keyboards -- offered a fresh spin on the Stones material they played, starting with a finger-snapping, blues-tinged "Honky Tonk Women" that let all of the players, including Indiana guitarist Josh Hill, solo. Band 2 also delivered a delicate reworking of "Lady Jane" and a flamenco-flavored "Miss You" highlighted by a tandem solo by Ries and Adams and a drum solo by Winn.

Ries also brought Detroit singer Alicia Michilli on for a powerhouse rendering of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind," and she returned for the finale of "Wild Horses" that spotlighted Fowler's broad and emotive approach to the song.

Ries referenced the Stones' tour party on Monday night, July 6, at the Fox Theatre and recalled seeing Jones play bass there with Miles Davis years ago. The saxophonist also recognized his twin daughters, who flew in from New York, and his sister in the crowd and spoke about his college friendship with Nilan, who he recently ran into in Los Angeles and invited to play Tuesday's show.

Some tickets, priced $350 and $175, remain for the Stones show Wednesday night, July 8, at Comerica Park. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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