The Bondage of Creation
The Disembodied Revolution

52 Guitars: Week 29

Derek Trucks

As I mentioned last week, Derek Trucks is the nephew of Butch Trucks, one of the three original members of the Allman Brothers Band who are still with the group today. And starting in 1999 and continuing until just recently Derek was in it, too.

He was a child--well, ok, a teenaged--prodigy, as the first video attests. The tune is "Mr. P.C.", which jazz fans will recognize as a John Coltrane composition featured on the famous Giant Steps album. It's well known enough to have its own Wikipedia page, where it's described as a "simple 12-bar minor blues." Well, simple by jazz standards, I guess. but it runs at breakneck speed (about 10 seconds per chorus). Derek Trucks is fifteen years old here. Pretty audacious, to take on a tune so closely associated with one of the giants of jazz.


He recorded his first album, The Derek Trucks Band, at seventeen. It included "Mr. P.C." as well as other jazz tunes, like Miles Davis's "So What?"

His musical interests clearly extend well outside of rock and blues. Here's a composition by the Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan:


 And here's something from the same concert, not exactly blues, but bluesy:


I was a bit surprised that no one complained last week when I featured Duane Allman and didn't mention Derek and the Dominoes (in which he worked with Eric Clapton). It wasn't an accident: I always found Layla a little disappointing--a minority opinion, I know. I think it's partly because the guitars are recorded rather distantly in much of the album. But at any rate it certainly has its great moments. One of my favorite songs from it is "Anyday." Here it is performed by the Tedeschi-Trucks Band, proprietors Derek Trucks and his wife, Susan Tedeschi. Notice the guy in the white shirt and glasses singing along, about a minute or so in.




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