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Published: 2002/11/18
by Dan Greenhaus

Derek Trucks Band, B.B. King’s, NYC- 11/14

From a pure "guitar player" standpoint, there are few people in this country
who are currently generating the buzz that Derek Trucks manifests on a daily
basis. He was recently listed by a very prominent guitar magazine as one of
the new breed of "guitar heroes", along with the likes of John Mayer and Joe
Bonnamassa. However a quick listen to the musicians on the list proves that
very few can hold their own with Derek. His current tour is taking him
across the country until the end of the year in order to promote their
recent major label release, Joyful Noise, an album that is equally
accessible as it is profound. On Thursday night, The Derek Trucks Band
rolled into BB Kings in Manhattan’s Times Square to give the fickle New York
City crowd a taste of what they’ve been up to.

Beginning with a slow ambient jam in typical DTB fashion, the band began to
feel around before launching into "Maki Madni" to open. And with that
opener, it became quickly apparent to all, especially the younger fans who
happened to be right in front of me, exactly how powerful a guitar player
Derek Trucks is. His style is, perhaps, among the smoothest of any guitar
player I’ve ever seen, no easy feat considering he plays in open E tuning,
which, besides allowing him to work his magic on slide, prevents me from
entirely following what he is doing with his fingers when he is not
playing slide. The second song, "Kam-ma-lay", besides featuring a truly
incredible chord progression, routinely showcases Derek’s incredible slide
ability, played over the upbeat rhythm. His soaring lead lines on this song
would eclipse most everything else over the course of the night, which
is saying a whole lot.

It is at this point that I must mention Derek’s band, as it is easy to get
caught up talking about him for an entire review. Yonrico Scott on
drums, feeling much better by the looks of it, is a monster.
He pounds on his kit, which would make Neil Pert (Rush) proud, with a
passion as he moves delicately from side to side making use of each and
every toy at his disposal. Todd Smallie’s bass playing, while stiff at
times, is the perfect undercurrent over which Derek and keyboardist/flutist
Kofi Burbridge intertwine their melodies. Kofi’s subtle but effective playing
pushes Derek on virtually every song which nowhere more apparent than on crowd
favorite "Evil Clown". Derek’s guitar playing went from tasteful, elegant
and professional, to downright nasty, as he simply ripped the fretboard off
his guitar with searing lead lines, lines that would make slide guitarist
extraordinaire Ry Cooder run for the hills.

The second set had some fine moments as well. For those who enjoy the guest
appearance Soulive’s Eric Krasno, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress’ Cochemea Gastelum and Derek’s wife, Susan Tedeschi took the stage, with Kraz
upping the ante on "Afro Blue" and Susan proving some energetic vocals
on "Gonna Move" (the DTB backs her on this cut off her new album Wait For Me.) There was also a very "Dreams" like jam towards the end of the
second set worth mentioning, as was the "Joyful Noise" closer. However, all it was the "Evil Clown" and the "Kamalay" that stole the show. Above all else, It cannot be repeated enough: Derek Trucks is a phenomenal talent,
capable of summoning the sounds of anyone, from John Coltrane to Duane Allman, depending on his mood.

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