Beck plays with his fingers rather than a pick. That's one technique he uses to pull the vast array of sounds from his guitar. He used a wah-wah pedal on occasion, but otherwise, it was mainly just Beck and his Stratocaster. His style is a little hard to pin down because it seems he can play just about anything. Most often, he has a jagged, angular style that produces solos that you won't necessarily be whistling on the way home, but that are continually inventive. Hearing him play some blues is always fun because his approach is different from nearly all other blues guitarists. This made "Rollin' and Tumblin' " a highlight for the fresh insights and unexpected twists and turns. Another highlight was his cover of "A Day in the Life." Here, again, Beck used contrast to great effect on the McCartney-inspired bridge ("Woke up/Got out of bed..."). Instead of the bouncy pop of the original, Beck laid down the heavy metal hammer for some anti-McCartney sonic fun.
Now 66, Beck shows no sign of letting up or slowing down. He has a full tour schedule this year, taking his band around the world. And, most importantly, he still sports that Rolling Stones haircut.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.