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Ed Sheeran Makes Surprise Appearance With Frédéric Yonnet At New York’s Blue Note

Artists are friends and longtime collaborators
Ed Sheeran performs on July 17, 2023, with Frédéric Yonnet at the Blue Note in New York (photo: Dervon Dixon).

With a few days off before performing in Nashville this weekend, Ed Sheeran made a surprise appearance last night (July 17) at the legendary Blue Note jazz club in New York to perform with Frédéric Yonnet, the French harmonica virtuoso who is also a longtime friend and collaborator.

As 200 stunned fans looked on, Sheeran performed songs such as his own “Shape of You,” Nina Simone’s “Be My Husband,” Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” with Yonnet. The artists have previously teamed up to perform Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” on a number of occasions, including at the 2015 CBS special A Home for the Holidays.

Unannounced appearances and unusual pairings have been a hallmark of the Blue Note’s programming in recent years under the direction of booker Alex Kurland, with comedian Dave Chappelle a frequent surprise visitor and artists such as the Roots’ Black Thought, Anderson .Paak, and Miguel known to stop by.

“What is so special about Blue Note is that every artist, whether a mega-star or emerging talent, is dealing and negotiating with the musical moment in real time in an intimate environment,” Kurland tells SPIN. “Everyone is in it together on a musical journey to see where this vibe goes. This is the ultimate spirit and core quality of jazz that we celebrate and embrace at Blue Note.”

As for Yonnet, he has two more shows on tap this week at the Blue Note, and will also perform alongside Chappelle, Mary J. Blige, Nas, Chance the Rapper, .Paak, and Robert Glasper. As previously reported, Sheeran just hosted a big surprise of his own last weekend when he welcomed Eminem for two songs during a show in the latter’s Detroit hometown.


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