Post Script: Derek Trucks and Bela Fleck

(Above: The Derek Trucks Band covers Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.)

By Joel Francis

The day I interviewed Derek Trucks happened to be the same day I attended Bela Fleck’s spectacular Africa Project concert.

The Derek Trucks Band is known for its wide range of covers. In addition to performing two John Coltrane numbers on their first album, the band has been known to drop covers ranging from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to Rahsaan Roland Kirk to Son House. During the interview, I asked Trucks about his wide range of influences.

Trucks replied that growing up around musicians and being able to pick their brains for what turned them on created an insatiable appetite to learn and experience new things, musically and otherwise. He then told me about his latest find: a guitarist from Madagascar named D’Gary.

Hey, I told Trucks. I’m actually seeing him tonight.

That night, D’Gary more than lived up to Trucks’ praise. His fingers moved lightning fast, but retained the warmth associated with slower players. If you could transfer Eddie Van Halen’s finesse with B.B. King’s tone to an acoustic guitar, you’d be close.

After the show, all the African performers gathered with Fleck in the lobby of the Uptown Theater to sign autographs and talk with fans. I couldn’t resist approaching D’Gary.

Do you know the guitarist Derek Trucks? I asked.

He paused for a moment.

Yeah, yeah, the slide player, right, he said, moving a rigid index finger through the air imitating a slide.

I told D’Gary that I had spoken with Trucks that morning and that Trucks had spoken highly of him. D’Gary smiled and nodded his head in approval.

I have no idea if anything will come of this musical matchmaking. D’Gary and Trucks are both versitale enough that I’m sure bridging the ocean and cultures that lie between them will be no challenge.  But if anything happens between the two of them, be sure to let me know.

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