Tuesday, September 20, 2011
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: WYNTON MARSALIS & ERIC CLAPTON - PLAY THE BLUES
If this feels like the inevitable PBS fundraising show, you've got it. It's going to be a great TV show for sure, as the band is hot and so is the jazz. These guys are experts at what they do, recreating the classic sounds and solos of pre-modern jazz, Clapton's no slouch when it comes to the rich catalogs of everyone from Howlin' Wolf to W.C. Handy sampled here. The team is based on the lineup of the King Oliver band, which means there's a banjo, clarinet, trumpets and trombone, a sound I always enjoy. They even do a Dixieland number, the classic Just A Closer Walk With Thee.
So it's great fun, and for some, it's even a learning experience, if you didn't know about the blues and jazz intersection, and aren't familiar with that music. But it's a one-off just the same, and really not something you'll go back to for repeated listening. That's even with the inevitable inclusion of Layla, here rearranged and slowed down into something quite different. It's interesting, but not successful, not like the Unplugged version of the song Clapton hit with once before. Yes, it would have been incredibly cool for the song to be a hit for a third time in a completely different arrangement, but unfortunately, like the whole show, one listen is enough.