New York City‟s premier jazz venue got the blues last April when Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton performed together in Rose Theater at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz At Lincoln Center for two sold-out shows dedicated to vintage blues. The extraordinary collaboration, billed as Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play The Blues, paired these musical virtuosos with members of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra as they brought to life a repertoire of songs selected by Clapton and arranged by Marsalis.
Reprise Records captures the magic of these unprecedented shows from earlier this year on CD, and as a CD/DVD combo, that both feature selections taken from the two public concerts (April 8-9), as well as special performance of Jazz At Lincoln Center‟s annual gala (April 7).
The band nimbly navigated a diverse set list that touched on different styles, from the four-on-the-floor swing of Louis Armstrong‟s “Ice Cream” and the southern slow-drag of W.C. Handy‟s “Joe Turner’s Blues” to the traveling blues of “Joliet Bound” and the boogie-woogie jump of “Kidman Blues.” After opening the shows with his solo set, Mahal returned to join the band on “Corrine, Corrina” and the New Orleans funeral standard “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”
The one song not selected by Clapton for the show as his own “Layla,” which was requested by bassist Henriquez and arranged as a Crecent City dirge to tremendous results. On his review of the performance, David Fricke of Rolling Stone wrote: “In the [song‟s] instrumental break, Clapton hit a series of stabbing licks lightly crusted with distortion, followed by Marsalis’ slow parade of clean hurting peals – a moving dialogue in lovesickness and blues routes.”
Available as a one disc CD package or in deluxe CD/DVD combo.