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Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013

Hard-core modern jazz comes to a packed-out Madison Square Garden

Guitarists Allan Holdsworth (l.) and Kurt Rosenwinkel, NYC, April 2013. Photo courtesy Crossroads Guitar Festival

When John Mayer and Keith Urban are afforded 25 minutes of a concert that stretches toward five hours, you know the rest of the lineup must be serious. Such was the case at the 2013 Crossroads Guitar Festival, the sort of star-saturated live-music experience that allows its attendees long-term bragging rights.

Actually, Crossroads wasn’t so much a festival as two very long shows held on April 12 and 13 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Founded in 2004 by Eric Clapton as a benefit for his Crossroads rehab facility in Antigua, the event has been held every three years, first in Texas and then twice in Illinois. Clapton curates the concerts, granting them a predictable lean toward baby-boomer blues, rock and soul. But there were aberrations, including some honest-to-God jazz.

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