Clapton & Marsalis: Jazz Set Wows NYC Again

Two iconic musicians teamed up at New York City’s Rose Theater to explore the shared musical ground between New Orleans, the Delta and Chicago this week. Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis, joined by eight other stellar musicans performed the works of W.C. Handy, Louis Armstrong, Howlin’ Wolf, Big Maceo and more. The only nod to EC’s career was "Layla" – EC even admitted he didn’t want it in the set. Added at the request of Carlow Henriquez (bass) and given a totally new arrangement by Marsalis, it swung like it was written for a New Orleans jazz band replete with trumpets, trombone and clarinet, rather than a four piece rock outfit. Highlights were "Joe Turner’s Blues", "Careless Love," and "Kidman Blues." Exiting the venue on Saturday night, jazz fans and Clapton fans raved about the performance. The concerts will certainly go down in music history as some of the most important in EC’s legendary career.

Although the band and audience were clearly enjoying themselves based on the broad smiles on everyone’s faces, there was an underlying seriousness of purpose. Unlike a rock audience, the jazz audience listened intently to the music being performed. Cell phones / smart phones were turned off, there was no getting up and down throughout the show, digital cameras weren’t glowing throughout the audience, and most refreshingly, there wasn’t a constant drone of conversation in the hall. There also wasn’t a single Stratocaster in sight. For most of the show, EC used a tobacco sunburst Gibson 335. He also played a blonde Gibson L5.

Sharing the stage with Clapton and Marsalis all three nights were: Marcus Printup (trumpet), Chris Crenshaw (trombone), Victor Goines (clarinet), Dan Nimmer (piano), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Carlos Henriquez (bass), Ali Jackson (drums) and Don Vappie (banjo). Taj Mahal was the special guest.

The gala performance on Thursday evening raised $3.6 million dollars for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s performance, education and broadcast events. The Thursday and Friday concerts were filmed for DVD.

Set List – Saturday, 9 April
Ice Cream (Howard Johnson / Robert King / Billy Moll)
Forty-Four (Chester Burnett)
Joe Turner’s Blues (W.C. Handy)
The Last Time (Bill Ewing / Sara Martin)
Careless Love (W.C. Handy / Martha E. Koenig / Spencer Williams)
Kidman Blues (Big Maceo Merriweather)
Layla (Eric Clapton / Jim Gordon)
Joliet Bound (Kansas Joe McCoy / Memphis Minnie McCoy)
Just A Closer Walk With Thee (Traditional)
Corrine Corrina (Bo Chatman / Mitchell Parish / J. Mayo Williams) – encore
All arrangements by Wynton Marsalis

Were you at the concert on Friday or Saturday? Why not send your review to Where’s Eric!? To help keep your fellow fans informed, email the following details to
– Show date
– Your review
– Be sure to include your name and city so it can be featured with your review (no aliases or anonymous submissions, please. Upon request, we will use your first name and surname initial only.)
– Feel free to include information about EC’s guitars, amps and effects pedals


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