Anyone who knows jazz/funk music has undoubtedly heard the name Karl Denson. A former member of Lenny Kravitz’s backing band, Denson has found success leading The Greyboy Allstars, and his own band, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

Interestingly enough, it was Kravitz who recommended Denson’s name to The Rolling Stones. When the Stones heard his chops, they invited Denson to play saxophone on their upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand. Denson was planning a small West Coast run, including some Phish after-parties in Santa Barbara, but all of those shows have been cancelled.

Speaking on the opportunity, Denson said, “This is way beyond my wildest dreams, for sure! I wouldn’t have even put it on my bucket list, because I would have considered it ludicrous.”

In an interview with UT San Diego, Denson described the quick turnaround between being asked to play and him accepting the gig. Apparently Kravitz called Denson a number of times, but the calls were from a blocked number, so Denson didn’t initially answer.

“When he called a fourth time, I answered. Lenny told me he had received a call, and that: ‘Somebody needs a sax player to go on road.’ My initial response was: ‘I don’t think I’m the right guy. I just finished my summer tour (With Slightly Stoopid) and I’m doing weekend warrior stuff for the rest of the year, so I can be home with my family.’

“Then, Lenny said: ‘I think you’ll want to take this,’ and that it was the Stones and he’d recommended me.

After that, I sent out some of my music to them. They got it, liked it, took it committee (for a band vote). A week later, I was on a Skype conference with Mick. That was this past Thursday (10/9); it all transpired pretty quickly.”

Denson is no stranger to the Stones’ music, having performed their hit album Sticky Fingers (1971) with KDTU in 2012. We wish Denson all the best with the Rolling Stones!

You can read the full interview with Denson here.

-David Melamed (@DMelamz)

[photo by Allison Murphy]