576

Jeff Beck: Performing This Week... Live at Ronnie Scott's

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Jeff Beck: Performing This Week... Live at Ronnie Scott's Of the trifecta of British "guitar gods" that emerged in the late-'60s—Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page—Beck is the one who, regardless of style, has best embodied the spirit of jazz. His performances are always chancy propositions because he's always been about taking great risks, and they don't always work. Whether or not Beck's shows are totally successful, they're always worth the ride because he makes complete exposure the very lifeblood of his music. When Beck is on—as he clearly was during the week from which Performing This Week... Live at Ronnie Scott's was culled—there are few who can touch him for sheer emotiveness, raw energy and a near- vocal expressiveness that leaves most guitarists in his wake trying to figure out just how he does it.



Still, how he does it is not as important as that he does it, since Beck has demonstrated a frustrating tendency to disappear without notice and then suddenly reappear on the scene throughout his lengthy career. With one of his best live groups in years—keyboardist Jason Rebello, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and young bass phenom Tal Wilkenfeld—Beck is at the top of his game, burning through a 70-minute set of material ranging from the gripping "Beck's Bolero," from his 1968 debut, Truth (Epic), to the seemingly-impossible bends of the amblingly up-tempo "Nadia," from You Had It Coming (Epic, 2001). Beck also pays homage to contemporaries John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham on a smoking "Eternity's Breath," from Visions of the Emerald Beyond (Legacy, 1975) that segues into the hard-rocking "Stratus," from Spectrum (Atlantic, 1973).



Beck's tone has always been instantly recognizable, proving the magic is in the hands, not the technology. While the distinctive quality of Beck's playing has always been acknowledged, he's rarely provided evidence of the kind of virtuosity that would place him on par with guitarists like McLaughlin. His vernacular may not be as broad, but when it comes to shredding, Beck's high octane virtuosity on the frenzied and lightning-fast version of "Scatterbrain," from his classic Blow by Blow (Epic, 1975), is just plain staggering. Elsewhere, Stevie Wonder's "Cause We've Ended as Lovers," also from Blow by Blow, finds Beck at his most poignant; his judicious use of whammy bar, volume control and naturally impeccable note placement making it a definitive performance of this enduring tune.



Colaiuta and Rebello are ideal accompanists, with plenty of cathartic energy when needed and no shortage of viscerally propulsive rhythms. Performing This Week's other star is, however, Wilkenfeld, who seemingly came out of nowhere a couple years back as one of the most versatile and exciting young electric bassists to emerge in years, capable of unshakable grooves and solos that demonstrate a maturity and taste beyond her years.



With a stellar group, a stunning cross-section of career-defining material and his own playing never better, Performing This Week... Live at Ronnie Scott's is the live album Jeff Beck fans have been waiting for...and the perfect entry point for those who've never had the pleasure of making his acquaintance.


Track Listing: Beck's Bolero; Eternity's Breath; Stratus; Cause We've Ended As Lovers; Behind The Veil; You Never Know; Nadia; Blast From The East; Led Boots; Angels (Footsteps); Scatterbrain; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat /Brush With The Blues; Space Boogie; Big Block; A Day In The Life; Where Were You.

Personnel: Jeff Beck: guitars; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums; Jason Rebello: keyboards; Tal Wilkenfeld: bass.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Eagle Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "TriAngular Bent" CD/LP/Track Review TriAngular Bent
by Dave Wayne
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Of Colors" CD/LP/Track Review Of Colors
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Just for Fun" CD/LP/Track Review Just for Fun
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Triadic Episode" CD/LP/Track Review Triadic Episode
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "Zentuary" CD/LP/Track Review Zentuary
by John Kelman
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Right Where I Need to Be" CD/LP/Track Review Right Where I Need to Be
by Jim Olin
Published: June 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!