We braved the snow storm last night to see the Tedeschi Trucks Band (TTB) and Scrapomatic at The Klein in Bridgeport. The show was well worth it as this was the last performance of their 14 stop tour and they were prepared to give us their all. Susan Tedeschi thanked us for coming out despite the weather. We thank her and the band for playing for us on a rough weather evening.
Scrapomatic opened the evening with a particularly warm and appealing 30 minute set. Mike Mattison has a raspy singing voice that I find engaging for the blues. He was ably backed by founding member Paul Olsen and Dave Yoke on guitar . Tyler Greenwell, TTB drummer rounded out the nucleus.
Here they are performing on the TTB Tour at the Lynn Auditorium two weeks ago.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band took the stage next. I have seen the Derek Trucks Band (DTB) twice before in 2007 and 2008. I had seen Susan Tedeschi as the female singer with The Other Ones in 2003. The dimensional difference of TTB vs. DTB was striking. I wasn’t ready for the collective onslaught of an 11 member nucleus band. They exhibit maturity beyond measure. Their precision and execution of their collective musical craft was powerful to witness. I found myself happily stunned many times last night. The band took me in new sonic directions I had longed to find for some time now. I just never knew until I heard TTB where those explorations lay and how enraptured by the journey I would become.
The soul stew revival delivery is a liberating musical and aural experience. There is so much happening on stage you’re not sure where to look or listen at times. Yes, Susan Tedeschi and her husband Derek Trucks are the orchestra leaders. They play off the musicianship of a worthy all-star cast. From left to right on stage you have the steady keyboards (along with his flute playing) of Kofi Burbridge. His brother Oteil, stands next to him holding down the bottom with his eclectic bass guitar work. Next on the risers are the two drummers, J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell who lay down a very textured syncopation. Derek Trucks with his dozen years of service with The Allman Brothers Band has learned how to join Oteil and the two drummers as an ocean of sound.
TTB also features a three-man horn section and two back up singers. The precision of the horns and backing vocals is masterful in its execution.
The evening flowed like champagne from a bottle, evenly tasting each song title as we sipped the music sound with the band. I found the intersection with avant-garde jazz, classic blues, soul and the TTB Revelator CD songs an unbeatable combination. You couldn’t quibble about the amount or diversity of the music. As a listener you were constantly challenged with what song and music direction TTB would play next.
Derek Trucks is jaw-dropping to watch as his slide work is incredible. He is the quietest guitarist on the stage, nary a word does he utter. he lets his hands and the guitar do his talking. He accents the music with sharp contrasts and adds signifying endings to the Revelator songs. He commands so much respect when he solos. You shake your head in total disbelief that someone can play the guitar to such amazing heights.
It’s difficult to pinpoint all the highlights we saw, my favorite moments were several. I loved the jazz textured direction of The Allman Brothers ‘”Standback” which featured Derek accenting on guitar and Kebbi Williams on saxophone. It felt like they turned the clock back to 1959 and we were in the midst of a Coltrane experience as two persons as they jammed.
I especially enjoyed when Susan Tedeschi let loose on “That Did It”. Her fast-paced blues guitar playing coupled with her strong vocals confirmed my belief in her as a formidable blues musician. I love her voice and stage presence. She anchors herself well in TTB.
The song I loved the most (after Midnight In Harlem which I was so psyched they played) was “Uptight” by Stevie Wonder. The band was on a tear at this point of the evening. It was a great rendition that had the audience up and dancing. It was even more fun to see Susan dancing with the vocalists and horn section like a sock hop collection at the rear of the stage. The band truly enjoys what it is doing and playing. It’s a warm infectious sight to behold for the state of music when you are subjected to some artists who just march through their set lists and collect their checks.
Rumor has it that the Trucks Tedeschi Band has a live CD and DVD in the works. Let me tell you that is something you will want to get when it is available.
Two Hour Set
1. Don't Let Me Slide
2. Everybody's Talkin' At Me
3. Midnight In Harlem
4. Learn How to Love
5. Simple Things
6. Soul Serenade(Instrumental)
7. Bound For Glory
8. Stand Back
9. Darling Be Home Soon (Lovin Spoonful)
10. That Did It (Bobby "Blue" Band)
11. Uptight (Stevie Wonder)
12. Love Has Something Else to Say*
13. Shrimp & GritsEncore
14. Wade in the Water
An Afro-American spiritual sung as a prayer by TTB to help us all get home safe :)
15. Sing A Simple Song>
16. I Wanna Take You Higher
Yossi Pollack's stellar taping is available here: http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=549483
*Saunders Sermons, Trombonist sings "Kissing My Love" by Bill Withers