5

Joe Beck Trio: Get Me Joe Beck

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
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 more than a slight blip on the listening public's collective radar screen.

Beck, witty and self-effacing, always took such things in stride. Get Me Joe Beck, recorded live at Anna's Jazz Island in Berkeley, CA, in November 2006, was the guitarist's last album, and expresses in its title his philosophy about the transient nature of fame and fortune: First, he writes, it was "Who's Joe Beck?," followed by "Get me Joe Beck!," then "Get me someone who sounds like Joe Beck!," and finally "Who's Joe Beck?" Those to whom questions one and four apply will be pleasantly surprised not only to learn who Joe Beck is (that is to say, was) but thoroughly charmed by his remarkable ability to take a guitar and make it sing like the sweetest birds they've ever heard.

While it's true that Beck's trio (Peter Barshay, bass; David Rokeach, drums) takes no undue risks on this even-tempered concert date, the music they play and their earnest approach to it leaves no room for censure. Everyone is on his toes in a program that is comprised of seven standards, Luiz Bonfa's "Manha de Carnaval" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Corcovado," lightly sprinkled with wry commentary by Beck. The scrupulous choice of music affirms, in fact, that if nothing else, Beck had excellent musical taste, as the trio opens with Victor Young's unforgettable "Stella by Starlight" before moving on to a number of other classics: "Alone Together," "Tenderly," "I Can't Get Started," "You and the Night and the Music" and two versions of "Georgia on My Mind" (the second trimmed for radio play).

Beck says in spoken commentary between numbers that his rhythm section is "stupid good" (meaning they don't come much better), and he's right about that, as he is about how to precisely align notes, chords and phrases for greatest impact. The translucent recorded sound is another bonus. A trio session that is well worth hearing—more than once.

Track Listing: Stella By Starlight; Manha De Carnaval; "The Guitar Is A Six Piece Band" (Spoken); Georgia On My Mind; Alone Together; Trios Interlude (Spoken); Tenderly; On Ballads And Drinking (Spoken); I Can't Get Started; You And The Night And The Music; Jobim (Spoken); Corcovado; Georgia On My Mind.

Personnel: Joe Beck: guitar; Peter Barshay: bass; David Rokeach: drums.

Title: Get Me Joe Beck | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Whaling City Sound

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Get Me Joe Beck

Get Me Joe Beck

Whaling City Sound
2014

buy
Coincidence

Coincidence

Whaling City Sound
2008

buy
Tri07

Tri07

Whaling City Sound
2007

buy
Just Friends

Just Friends

Whaling City Sound
2003

buy
Beck and Sanborn

Beck and Sanborn

Sony-Legacy Music
1996

buy
 

The Journey

Kedar Entertainment Group
1991

buy

Related Articles

Read After the Rain: A Night for Coltrane Album Reviews
After the Rain: A Night for Coltrane
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 21, 2019
Read Cadillac Turns Album Reviews
Cadillac Turns
By Troy Dostert
April 21, 2019
Read A Pride Of Lions Album Reviews
A Pride Of Lions
By John Sharpe
April 21, 2019
Read Sunburst Finish Album Reviews
Sunburst Finish
By Glenn Astarita
April 21, 2019
Read This Should Be Fun Album Reviews
This Should Be Fun
By David A. Orthmann
April 20, 2019
Read Transoceanico Album Reviews
Transoceanico
By Patrick Burnette
April 20, 2019
Read Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection Album Reviews
Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 20, 2019