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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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335 Records 335-2004



1. NM Blues 08
2. That Road
3. Monty
4. Cold Gold
5. Hand In Hand with the Blues
6. Amen AC
7. I Put a Spell on You
8. Rio Samba

Larry Carlton, Robben Ford - Guitars
Fifi Chayeb - Bass (tracks 2-8)
Claude Salmieri - Drums (tracks 2-8)


"Unplugged" used to mean "not amplified" but it sounds as if both guitarists are amplified on this DVD, recorded at the New Morning club in Paris. Never mind: however they are playing, it is a pleasure to hear two master guitarists duetting with respect for one another. This means that neither of them gets in the other's way but that one supports the other when the other is soloing. And they keep exchanging appreciative glances at one another.

As its title suggests, the first track is a blues, played with conviction by both men. In fact most of the tunes on this DVD are blues or have a sense of the blues. Perhaps Robben Ford inclines more towards the blues while Larry Carlton's style is closer to jazz, but that is hardlyu surprising, seeing that Larry played with the likes of Steely Dan, Quincy Jones and the Crusaders, while Robben played with Jimmy Witherspoon and Little Feat.

The bassist and drummer join the group for the second and subsequent numbers, although they stay mostly in the background. Monty pays tribute to Wes Montgomery, and Robben's solo includes some appropriate octaves. Ford sings on Hand In Hand with the Blues and I Put a Spell on You. Robben introduces the latter slowly and sensitively, and Larry adds a long, brilliant solo. Amen AC has a danceable shuffle rhythm. The duettists finish with a subtly Latin-flavoured piece, Rio Samba. A bonus feature shows the two guitarists swapping stories about their careers, discussing what to play, and trying out couple of numbers.

Guitarists will particularly enjoy this DVD, as there are plenty of close-ups of the guitarists, suggesting how they achieve the mastery of their instruments.

Tony Augarde

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