Derek Trucks's version of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" provides ample proof of Trucks's designation as one of Rolling Stone
's 100 Best Guitarists. The production is clear. The recording contains tasty jamming and group interplay that emphasizes the individual parts being played and the actual sound of the tracking room. There is no doubt as to whose showcase this is; Trucks is clearly up front as he slices and dices his way through several hot, dominating solos. He single-handedly drives the rest of the band into hysteria, as Todd Smallie and Yonrico Scott's rhythm section gradually heats up and Trucks's playing consistently burns. Both Smallie's animated bass and Scott's hard-hitting, fleet-footed percussion seem to solo alongside Trucks, yet they never shift the focus away from him. The musical subtlety and grace places all three of the players in the top tier of musicians, and while Trucks's fluid instrumental tangos dance around the bass and drums with a youthful ferocity yet to be challenged by anyone, he amazingly manages to transcend quite a few of his influences on the cut. Add in obvious reverence to the Shorter original, and the results of this progressive jazz track are definitely worth investigating.
On this album, California-based producer Madlib opened up the Blue Note vaults and produced his most well-respected album to date. Along with Yesterday's New Quintet, they recorded Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" for an audience that otherwise might not have heard it. Ahmad Miller, one of Madlib's various aliases, showcases his diversity and skills on vibes, which are only matched by his skills behind the boards. A must-have for any fan of jazz and hip-hop.
Buddha Shorter tossed this pebble into the pond
and each ripple embraced a new set of lyrics. Its re- incarnations include African ancestry, ecology, musicians, and love, yet Chris Caswell’s lyric of loss and hope transforms “Footprints” into the ultimate theme. Combine the polished stone of Karrin’s earnest voice, muted trumpet, waterfall piano, and ethereal concord, and the effect dwells in the mind like a Zen question. While contemplating the greatest unknown, what better soundtrack than the Satori of jazz, and what better Nara-Narayana than Karrin to gracefully guide us to shores where losses are recovered and music might be exponential.
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