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Live Reviews

Soundtrack to a Legend: Jack Johnson & Jack DeJohnette in London

By Published: June 9, 2005
With the movie over, the band comes out for a blistering encore rendition of "What I Say" from Live Evil. The 63-year old DeJohnette astonishes with a pounding, relentless funk-rock attack, proving that, if nothing else, his stamina remains undiminished. This high-octane workout also provides each of his bandmates with the chance to shine. Neville Malcolm holds the whole thing together with the insistent bass line while Jason Yarde turns out a scorching solo on soprano that has him screaming and shrieking into the mouthpiece. David Okumu takes his cue from John McLaughlin's playing on the original soundtrack, with a hint of Prince thrown in for good measure, delivering a stratospheric solo that tears the tops off skulls in the front two rows. Perhaps understandably, Byron Wallen seems at first somewhat reluctant to take his trumpet solo with the malevolent gaze of Miles Davis filling the giant screen behind him. When the time comes, however, he simply steps sideways into the shadows and blazes like a super nova. Finally, DeJohnette's monstrous solo brings the whole thing to a shuddering climax.

In all, it's an exercise in respect. Not just a tribute to Jack Johnson but also a celebration of the music and enduring influence of the Dark Magus himself, Miles Davis. In short: a knockout.

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