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Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play The Blues

4.2 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 13, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

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 on CD and a CD/DVD combo that both feature selections taken from the two public concerts, as well a special performance for Jazz at Lincoln Center's annual gala.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 13, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros./Rhino
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,308 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Some artists reach a point in their careers where you feel they have nothing left to prove. Wynton Marsalis has earned every accolade in the jazz world-nine Grammys in Jazz and classical music, and the first Jazz musician to win a Pulitzer prize for music ("Blood on the Field"}. Eric Clapton, of course, has been one of the top guitar gods for nearly five decades. Both of these accomplished musicians could coast at this point- something they have been criticized for in recent years. For this performance, live at Lincoln Center in April 2011, they made a bit of musical history.

When Marsalis and Clapton decided on this project, they went after the sound of an early jump-blues band with a New Orleans vibe. This enabled the duo to give themselves latitude in instrumentation. The band is based on King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (where Louis Armstrong first gained fame), but with the addition of guitar and keyboards. This culminated in a sound respecting Trad Jazz while acknowledging the music of today.

The disc's opener, "Ice Cream" shows the group having a ball. Several members, including Marsalis sing the chorus in a fun fashion backing Clapton's lead vocal. In true Dixieland fashion, solos seamlessly follow each other. Victor Goines plays a lovely clarinet solo in "Joe Turner's Blues", followed by a very nimble Clapton. Hearing him in a Jazz setting is a real treat. The great Don Vappie plays some of the best banjo this side of Bela Fleck.

After "Kidman Blues", Clapton engages the audience rather humbly, telling how intimidated he was by so many schooled Jazz musicians. Clearly, he is the star of this show, and his playing is a perfect fit with the Marsalis band.

Reading the set list: do we need another "Layla"?
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I'm not usually a big Eric Clapton fan, and even though Wynton Marsalis is a phenomenal trumpet player, sometimes he comes off to me as too clinical and he doesn't "swing." Rest assured, both of those preconceptions go out the door in this concert recording.

First off, the music on this concert CD consists of old-school blues played in a jazz/Dixieland style. While I wasn't familiar with many of the songs, the interpretations really work and allow all of the various instruments to be showcased at one time or another - trumpet, clarinet, piano, banjo, trombone, drums. Every now and then you can hear a Clapton electric guitar riff and only once or twice does it seem out of place. Layla is reworked as a Dixieland dirge with a plodding tempo and, man does it work that way.

You can tell right away that these guys are having a BLAST. It really shows in the playing, which is masterful. And effortless. At times you think these guys just hooked up for a jam session, and then you listen to some unison/harmonized horn runs and realize the technical proficiency on display. Not one note is out of place.

In addition, this is a really hot recording. It seems like microphones were placed midway between the crowd and the band and turned all the way up so every little sound in the room is picked up. It really makes you feel imbedded in the concert and adds to the feel. And the acoustic horn and percussion instruments blend together exceptionally. It reminds me of being in Preservation Hall in New Orleans.

So all I can say is that the musicianship on here is incredible and the CD is a lot of fun. If you like Dixieland-based jazz arrangements, you will really enjoy this.
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Format: Audio CD
If this album doesn't lift your mood and spirits you can't possibly have a pulse.

This is music at its very best and it is definitely best to ignore some of the largely ill-informed "this isn't blues", "this isn't Clapton", "this is c**p" reviews from some of people contributing, who, demonstrably, seem to have little musical knowledge, appreciation or taste. Quite simply, this is a terrific and infectious album - a joy to listen to.

I have been a Clapton fan since I was 12 in the mid-1960s and, in my opinion, this is one of the best albums he has put out in a long time.

It has been fascinating watching Clapton's progress over the past five or six years - it's almost as if he is doing a final lap of honour before he shuffles off this mortal coil. First he reforms Cream, then gets Derek Trucks to take on the Duane Allman role in a reprise of Derek and the Dominoes, next he links up with Steve Winwood for what was effectively a Blind Faith reunion, records an album with JJ Cale . . . etc, etc (and long may it continue!)

I've been lucky enough to see him live quite a few time recently and by a long way his worst performance came when he was on his own, just playing with his band. These days he seems to need somebody else to bounce off, and when he finds a collaborator or sidekick of the calibre of Wynton Marsalis (or Winwood or Trucks) his own performances have been elevated.

This album is highly recommended and for fans of Clapton looking for another guitarist to "worship" look no further than Derek Trucks, who will keep the flame burning for years to come. If you haven't heard it yet check out Revelator by the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
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