The Derek Trucks Band – Soul Serenade 2003

The Derek Trucks Band – Soul Serenade 2003
Recorded at Dockside, Maurice, Louisiana and Reeltime Studios,
Athens, Georgia between October 1999 & April 2000

Blues

It would be wrong to pigeonhole Derek Trucks as a southern rocker despite his ongoing day gig as the Allman Brothers Band’s second guitarist. On his fourth solo album (actually recorded before his third, 2002’s Joyful Noise) the young slinger shows what he’s made of, and it’s not barbeque and bourbon. Instead Trucks caters more to the martini crowd, giving a sophisticated cast to his slide guitar, snaking it into elegant musical conversations with a rather frivolous flute, and some off time drumming that are reminiscent of the clean jazz fusion that Traffic used to conjure up. On the opening track, “Soul Serenade”/”Rasta Man Chant,” Trucks inserts some of the languid licks and flirts with Miles Davis before devolving into Bob Marley. “Bock to Bock” is a more structured affair that recalls Henry Mancini. Gregg Allman sits in on “Drown in My Own Tears” and spits out the bitter words in his grizzled voice while Truck follows along in a perfect slow dance, punctuating each of the singer’s phrases with his own mournful slide. Trucks ventures south of the border in “Afro Romp” and the band evokes the great jazz drummer Elvin Jones on “Elvin.” By Jaan Uhelszki.
**
Though recorded nearly two years before the release of the Derek Trucks Band’s previous album, Soul Serenade feels like a step forward from Joyful Noise in its maturity and focus. By almost any measure, this is a jazz album; the only references …    Full Descriptionto rock can be heard in the overdriven tone and bluesy slide phrasing that Trucks consistently employs. The prominence of the Hammond organ, and in particular its registration and abundant Leslie tremolo, also nods transparently toward the leader’s apprenticeship in the Allman Brothers Band. The rhythm feel is subtle, though, with an understated swing that borrows from this or that corner of world music but unmistakably centers itself on jazz practice. In particular, Kofi Burbridge’s aromatic flute solos, and the drumming of Yonrico Scott, with its freedom, timbral nuance, and well-placed transitional rolls, pull the sound far away from rock or even from the jazz-flavored but backbeat-driven Allman Brothers groove. One track, the Gregg Allman vocal cameo, a full-blooded rendition of “Drown in My Own Tears” that features brisk back-and-forth between the singer and Trucks, sinks from the jazz embrace and into the bosom of the blues; another, “Sierra Leone,” builds a musical bridge from the Missisippi Delta back to Africa, in resonant acoustic timbres. In this context, these two moments only enrich the spectrum of Soul Serenade without at all detracting from the integrity and maturity of Trucks’s vision.
By Robert L. Doerschuk.
**
Soul Serenade is the fourth commercial release for Allman Brothers guitarist Derek Trucks. A second generation band member (the guitarist is the nephew of drummer Butch Trucks), Mr. Trucks studied carefully the lead and slide guitar styles of the late Duane Allman, incorporating the elder Allman’s propensity for crossing music genera lines at will into his own personal philosophy. Derek Trucks may safely be considered the logical extension of the art of Duane Allman without simply being an imitation.
The title cut is a King Curtis classic often performed by Duane Allman as part of a medley with Willie Cobbs’ “You Don’t Love Me.” Here, Trucks segues effortlessly into Bob Marley’s “Rasta Man Chant” and ten minutes of intricate slide guitar playing and ensemble intuition. Trucks covers Buddy Montgomery’s “Bock to Bock” in a clever manner and again with the slide guitar, making Derek Trucks one of the first bona fide jazz slide guitarists. After a blues foray through “Drown in My Own Tears,” sung by Gregg Allman, Trucks returns to familiar territory with Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue.” Trucks performed this piece as part of a Govn’t Mule concert ( Live…With A Little Help from Our Friends ). Here, the song is pared down and tightened with the help of Kofi Burbridge.
Derek Trucks is exactly the type of guitarist in need… for popular music, for the Allman Brothers Band, for Govn’t Mule, for the Derek Trucks Band. For popular music, Trucks enters as a self-contained virtuoso, capable in all styles of music. For the Allman Brothers band, he is the slide guitarist needed since the horrible loss in the early 1970s. For Govn’t Mule, Trucks pushed Warren Haynes in this creativity and drive. And finally, for the Derek Trucks Band, the guitarist proves himself a clever and capable leader, not afraid to visit new or old themes.
By C. Michael Bailey.
**
Derek Trucks- (Guitar, Sarod);
Gregg Allman- (Vocals);
Kofi Burbridge- (Flute, Piano, Fender Rhodes Piano, Clavinet, Keyboards);
Bill McKay- (Wurlitzer Piano, Hammond B-3 Organ, Keyboards);
Todd Smallie- (Bass);
Yonrico Scott- (Drums, Percussion).
**
01. Soul Serenade – Rasta Man Chant (C. Ousley, L. Dixon, B. Marley)  10:37
02. ock to Bock (B. Montgomery)  5:59
03. Drown In My Own Tears (H. Glover)  5:08
04. Afro Blue (M. Santamaria)  5:42
05. Elvin (D. Trucks, T. Smallie, Y. Scott, B. McKay, K. Burbridge)  6:10
06. Oriental Folk Song (Traditional)  6:43
07. Sierra Leone (D. Trucks, Y. Scott, K. Burbridge)  2:15
**


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