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Derek Trucks new cd review


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Here's my DTB review that I recently sent to the now in-limbo Scene & Heard. I didn't want it to go to waste, so here it is:

Review: " Joyful Noise " The Derek Trucks Band. Colombia Records ( 2002 ).

By David "Jaimoe " Ball

Listening to " Joyful Noise " Trucks' first release on a major label, brings back

a lot of memories from the time I first saw Derek perform live nine years ago. He was a surprise on-stage guest of the Dickie Betts-less Allman Brothers Band at the Kingswood Music Theatre/Canada's Wonderland. He came on to do two songs in the middle of the Allman's first set. He was so small up there on stage. The only part of Derek that I saw was his Cleveland Indians' baseball hat, hovering from beside Greg's Hammond organ. He was only thirteen at the time, but his scorching slide

on " Southbound " and " You Don't Love Me " added life and quite a few smiles to the audience and the Brothers too; especially to an almost giddy Warren Haynes. That night, Derek sounded like he was Duane Allman-possessed. He was just starting to establish his own voice on the guitar. A difficult

thing to do, especially when playing slide guitar.

Jumping back to his first two albums, the self-tilted Derek Trucks Band ( 1997 ) and Out Of Madness ( 1998 ), you can tell that Derek's musical approach and imagination continued to mature and evolve over his years of constant gigging. The very fine Derek Trucks Band is heavily

influenced by both Derek's love of John Coltrane-jazz and Allman blues-jams. One year later Out Of Madness was released and it is clearly more unpredictable and Mississippi Delta-fused than DTB - which is a good thing. It is also more progressive, with collaborators ranging from Aquarium Rescue Unit's Jimmy Herring on many tracks, most notably on the funk-fueled instrumentals: " Young Funk "; and " Kickin'Back ". Out Of Madness also brings into the DTB fold Gov't Mule's Warren Haynes and bluesman Larry McCray to

record some heated standards and impressive originals. The DTB's originals are always well sprinkled throughout the first two releases and can be compared favourably to their choice of jazz and Delta blues covers. So, with two impressive and maturing releases under their collective belts, it should come as no

surprise that the DTB's new Joyful Noise is a diverse piece of collective music and the best thing they've recorded to this point.

Produced by session drumming great Russ Kunkel ( on 2 tracks ) and main producer Craig Street, this album bristles with energy and more importantly, impressive music. Drummer Yonrico Scott, bassist Todd Smallie, Kofie Burbridge on keys and flute and Trucks continue their musical fascination and exploration of different styles of music, especially with Latin-funk, blues-soul and Indian/Pakistani qawwali music. They explore often on this release and like they did on their earlier cds, they use some interesting collaborators/vocalists: Solomon Burke; Rahat Fateh Ali Khan; Ruben Blades; and Susan Tedeschi.

The album begins strongly, with the mostly instrumental title track: " Joyful Noise ". This is a catchy original jazz tune, which features the band's ability to combine their effortless groove interplay and Derek's smoking slide soloing - which have never sounded better I might add. The next track is the mid-tempo and beautifully melodic jazz number: " So Close, So Far Away ". This track features some of Trucks' most heart-felt

slide work, but the other star of this song is Kofi Burbridge. His quiet vocals and peaceful piano chording allow Derek to soulfully stretch out. The best song and on the album is the passionate and mystical cover of the late qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's: " Maki Madni ". Nusrat's nephew, the great Rahat Ali Khan, performs the song with the DTB here and their version is both haunting and somewhat chilling. This song is what collaboration is all about. Derek's slide accompanies Rahat's vocals perfectly, branching out occasionally for brief

" call and answer " solo explorations with that of Khan's voice; Trucks has the uncanny ability of making his slide guitar sound like it was invented in Pakistan. Turn this one up on a long trip in the car. If it doesn't give you

goose bumps then there's something wrong with you. It should be noted that Derek Trucks is one of the few guitarists today that gets noticeably better as he ages. He is no longer only a young slide wizard. His standard playing has improved greatly over the years, thanks in part to his stints with Phil & Friends, The Allman Brothers and his own band. Proof of this can be found on " Lookout 31 ". This track features the DTB experimenting with avant-garde jazz and Derek's standard playing is nothing short of explosive. You'd swear it was Jimmy Herring playing. It's not and Derek doesn't use a pick and he still single-note picks like a mother. " Frisell " is the last track on Joyful Noise and it 's another jazz original that highlights both Trucks' great non-slide and innovative jazz-slide guitar abilities. Other album highlights

include Ruben Blades' Latin-funk, " Kam-ma-lay " and Solomon Burke's slow blues burn, " Like Anyone Else ". There are no stinkers

on this album, although the collaboration with Trucks' new wife Susan Tedeschi on " Baby, You're Right "and with Solomon Burke on " Home In Your Heart " are dubious, but nothing special and/or essential.

All and all, Joyful Noise is a solid effort from an evolving and great band with the most innovative young guitarist around. There's something for everyone here; just don't go in not expecting to be surprised.

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nice review jaimoe.

i only have out of the madness, but i think it's a wicked album. saw derek trucks for the first time this summer, they had some great guests too incl susan tedeschi, it was a really great show, derek's slide playing knocked me on my ass.

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