JJ 02/83: Larry Carlton – Sleepwalk

Forty years ago Mark Gilbert looked in vain on Carlton's latest album for the exceptional playing he brought to Steely Dan and the Crusaders. First published in Jazz Journal February 1983


Larry Carlton inspired a generation of guitarists in the seventies with his unique contributions to the music of the Crusaders and Steely Dan, and has been in high demand among top-line modern players for years. This latest album unfortunately re­produces the old magic only fleetingly.

Carlton’s style remains: a power­ful blend of the techniques and harmonies of jazz and rock, combining the string-bending pro­wess and blues feeling of BB King with jazz colourations. The problem is that Carlton has not audibly pro­gressed. If anything, he has re­gressed, employing, in parts, cloying easy listening material.

On the other hand, some tracks are acceptably bluesy and serious enough to have some meaning (Last Nite and 10.00PM, for example).

This cannot be wholly re­commended to fans of Carlton’s early work. They will not be happy with the commercial compromise that allows the inclusion of sops like the title track.

Last Nite; Blues Bird; Song For Katie; Frenchman’s Flat (17.09) – Sleepwalk; Upper Kern; 10:00 PM; You Gotta Get It While You Can (22.05)
Larry Carlton (g) Terry Trotter, Greg Mathieson, Don Freeman (kyb); Carlos Rios (g); Abe Laboriel, Pops Popwell (elb); Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro, John Ferraro (d); Brian Mann (syn); David Sanborn (s); Paulinho Da Costa (pc). Plus string section.
(Warner Bros WB K 56974)