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Concert Reviews:
Derek Trucks Band Brings Southern Rock Flavor To Jazz Fest
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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DETROIT -- A member of the Allman Brothers Band might seem like an odd, or at least off-center, fit for a jazz festival. But on Sunday (Sept. 1) the Derek Trucks Band blew out any Southern rock preconceptions with a wide-ranging set of music styles on the Detroit International Jazz Festival's Chase Main Stage.

The sextet, which included Detroit native Yonrico Scott on drums, certainly held true the Allmans' tradition of jamming and improvisation, with Trucks -- the nephew of Allmans' drummer Butch Trucks -- delivering expansive and electrifying solos throughout the 85-minute, nine-song set. Keyboardist Kofi Burbridge played Trucks' counterpoint, usually on flute, while Scott and rhythm section mates Todd Smallie on bass and Count M'Butu on percussion, held down the grooves.

And though their role was minimal amidst the instrumental fireworks, Mike Mattison's smokey vocals set parameters for the ensuing musical heroics.

The group's song selection, meanwhile, held true to Michigan weather's reputation for changing quickly -- and frequently -- and the group also nodded to the occasion by applying its particular style to jazz pieces such as Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Volunteered Slavery," and John Coltrane's version of "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music," the oft-recorded "I Wish I Knew" The group also tried its hand, successful, at world music (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's "Sahib Teri Bandi"), Zydeco (Clifton Chenier's bluesy "Done Got Over"), the classic rock of Derek & the Dominoes' "Anyday" and, of course, blues via Allen Toussaint's "Get Out of My Life, Woman" and Big Bill Broonzy's "Key to the Highway," which was another Dominoes favorite.

Besides band introductions and Scott's shoutouts to his home town, the group didn't have much to say -- but that wasn't a major issue. Trucks and company spoke plenty with their instruments, delivering a message that jazz cuts a wide enough path to accommodate almost any kind of musician.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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