The jazz world, it seems, has always been awash in talented guitarists, from Reinhardt and Christian through Montgomery, Pass, Farlow, Hall and their like to the present day. This is both a blessing and a curse, as only a handful of such splendid musicians are able to rise above the throng and become household names or even widely known. Joe Beck, who was one week shy of his sixty-third birthday when he died in July 2008, was one of those fringe" players, an astute and versatile artist who was familiar to and respected by his fellow musicians but produced no ...read more
It would be something of an understatement to say that the late Joe Beck was a fine guitarist. In truth, he was one of the most multifaceted players to wield the instrument during his lifetime. Beck was hailed for his funky fusion work, both as an individual and in combination with saxophonist David Sanborn, he was an ace studio musician, working with everybody from Miles Davis to Paul Simon to Gloria Gaynor, and he was a brilliant and daring interpreter of standards. It's that last aspect of his playing that shines brightly on this posthumously released live date.read more
The duet program Golden Earrings is Laura Theodore's ode to Peggy Lee's standard-setting duets with her husband, guitarist and co-composer Dave Barbour. Subsequent circumstances have added a sadder tribute to Theodore's instrumental partner, guitarist Joe Beck, who recorded his final work on Golden Earrings before he succumbed to cancer in July 2008.
Tribute offerings can be tricky propositions. If you stay too close to the originals, critics say that you're simply aping" them; change them too much and critics complain that you've strayed too far. Golden Earrings shows how Theodore and Beck mastered both approaches. Theodore delivers her most confident ...read more
This duet album is a guitarist's dream. Both Joe Beck and John Abercrombie have unquestionable individual virtuosity plus experience in this format through previous tandem performances with Larry Coryell, John Scofield, Ralph Towner and similar luminaries. Together, they explore pillars from the traditional and more exploratory jazz canons including Mercer Ellington's Things Ain't What They Used to Be," Miles Davis' All Blues" and Ornette Coleman's The Turnaround," plus new originals for the occasion, in witty and bright conversation
The interwoven riffs and rhythms of the opening Beautiful Love" serve as both description and introduction. Its sharp yet soft ...read more
Guitarist Joe Beck's career has spanned fifty years, mostly below the below the radar since he has not spent much time as a leader, but rather has played behind many performers, inside and outside of jazz. His talent has been recognized by his receiving the Most Valuable Player Award five times by the National Academy of Recording Arts And Sciences during his thirty years of composing music for TV and movies. In any case, the two releases below show that Beck is not only quite capable of leading, but that he also has something to say, and ...read more
His ECM albums may be more overtly modern and left-of-center but, based on a 2004 AAJ interview, when John Abercrombie is at home practicing, it's usually in the context of jazz standards. For those who feel such well-trodden material has little left to offer in the way of either challenge or modern interpretation, the guitarist's duet with Joe Beck, Coincidence, will go a long way to encouraging naysayers to reconsider.
Like Abercrombie, Beck is a guitarist with a sizable discography as a sideman. His discography as a leader is smaller, however, and hasn't received the same ...read more
Tri07 is a different type of release for Joe Beck. Which is a powerful statement, since this guitarists' guitarist has won the Most Valuable Player Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) five different times, and his career, which spans five decades, includes working with Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Antonio Carlos Jobim and other geniuses.
Tri07 delivers two distinct Beck flavors: Adventurous improvisational explorations that deconstruct and reassemble pieces such as You and the Night and the Music" and John Coltrane's Impressions," and reverential yet energetic reviews of numerous hallowed standards ("But ...read more