Artist: Allman Brothers Band
Album: The Beacon Theatre 10-28-2014
Label: Hittin' The Note
Release Date: 01/06/2015
Yes, every member of the final edition of The Allman Brothers Band possesses prodigious talent, and the legacy they drew from for songs, and rock/blues/jazz methodology is as deep-seated as it gets in the fabric of American music. Yet they played what was billed as the final concert of their illustrious 45-year livelihood hitting high note after high note as much because they relaxed and acted themselves, and often threw convention to the wind. This four-CD set thrives continually on workouts such as Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues.” The Allman Brothers’ romp on the old blues song is certainly familiar, yet subtle fluctuations in tempo, and guitar passages by Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks that at once follow a code and fascinate with originality, make it stand out anew.
To the end, the Brothers were still rightly revered for the matchless guitar interplay of originators Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. They went out being known for another team, too. Trucks’ mid-song solo in the loping blues of Allman’s “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” rivets by its intensity, and when Haynes responds, he loosens the groove with the utmost dexterity and class. The framework of Allman’s “Black Hearted Woman” remains pile-driving, but the band frees up a long coda, extreme to be sure, but jazzy and in-the-moment nonetheless. Founding drummers Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, with longtime percussionist Marc Quinones and bassist Oteil Burbridge, make a spectacular foundation. Their thunder and finesse impresses as much in the driving Southern rhythm and blues of Betts’ “Southbound” as it does in the gentle strains of Allman’s eternal “Melissa.” But sometimes convention must rule. As with “Melissa,” “Midnight Rider” abides, absolutely wonderfully. Set the clock for the countdown to “reunion,” and say a prayer of appreciation, and hope.
– Tom Clarke