Derek Trucks Band: Elvin




Derek Trucks Band


Soul Serenade (Columbia 89013)

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Derek Trucks (guitar),

Todd Smallie (bass), Yonrico Scott (drums), Bill McKay (Wurlitzer piano, Hammond B-3 organ, keyboards), Kofi Burbridge (flute, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, clavinet, keyboards)


Composed by Derek Trucks, Todd Smallie, Yonrico Scott, Bill McKay, and Kofi Burbridge


Recorded: Maurice, Louisiana and Athens, Georgia, October 1999-April 2000


Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

Initially, Derek Trucks' "Elvin" sounds somewhat standard for the Trucks catalog. The instrumental jam begins slowly, with the entire group building up the motif until it gilides into an energetically capitulating swing. Even though this is not one of Trucks' most adventurous charts, his slide guitar punches through the mix with both clarity and inspiration, and he carefully intones his notes here in a style that sounds a bit more thoughtful than what was captured on his breakout CD Joyful Noise. Once the recording's midsection begins, the playing transmits a real allure that nearly transforms the composition into something completely fresh.

The three-chord resolution-heavy second half features one of Trucks' best recorded moments, as the entire group's playing sounds vital with the musicians feeding off of each other and Trucks surfs effortlessly atop their slippery slope. I would not personally call any of what is heard indicative of a musical passion for Elvin Jones (even though the main phrase is constructed around two beats, or, in this case, a pair of syllables that symbolize the song's title), but it sounds as if Trucks was deeply moved by something having to do with someone of that name that day, at least.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary

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