Rock guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck dazzles the crowd at celebrated London jazz club Ronnie Scott's with an extended set that includes hits such as "Beck's Bolero" and "'Cause We've Ended as Lovers." The former Yardbird proves he's still got the chops on other tunes including "Blast from the East," "Eternity's Breath," "People Get Ready" (with vocalist Joss Stone), "You Need Love" (with fellow Yardbird Eric Clapton) and more.
To those wondering whether to add this CD to their collection I recommend that you bear in mind Duke Ellington's words - "There are only two kinds of music: good music and bad music", because this CD belongs unquestionably to the first category. All instrumental, it contains a variety of styles - including ballad, reggae, funk, and rock - read the other reviews for the details. And finally, please don't ever pretend to have any inkling of what Jeff Beck is about, or what he is capable of, without being familiar with this particular album.
As with WHO ELSE, Jeff Beck's previous album, YOU HAD IT COMING finds the venerable axeman coaxing wildly imaginative squalls of noise over a rhythm section constructed from samples and tape loops, mostly with a techno beat (although the concluding "Suspension" is so laid back it's practically a ballad). There's a nod to his blues roots with a nicely fractured version of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' and Tumblin'," but most of the rest of the songs find him performing in a vaguely modal framework.
Beck's dilemma has always been finding musicians capable of keeping up with him, largely because there really aren't any. He hasn't really solved that problem here, but it's nonetheless entertaining to hear him tread water.
"Dirty Mind" won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
"If the voice don't say it, the guitar will play it," raps Saffron on "Pork-U-Pine," the third track on Jeff Beck's minimally titled Jeff. And he does. Beck teams with producer Andy Wright, the man responsible for his more complete immersion into electronic backdrops on his last outing, You Had It Coming. This time the transition is complete. Beck used electronica first on Who Else!, moved a little more into the fire on You Had It Coming, and here merges his full-on Beck-Ola guitar heaviness with the sounds of contemporary spazz-out big beats and noise. Beck and Wright employ Apollo 440 on "Grease Monkey"…
Blow by Blow typifies Jeff Beck's wonderfully unpredictable career. Released in 1975, Beck's fifth effort as a leader and first instrumental album was a marked departure from its more rock-based predecessors. Only composer/keyboardist Max Middleton returned from Beck's previous lineups. To Beck's credit, Blow by Blow features a tremendous supporting cast. Middleton's tasteful use of the Fender Rhodes, clavinet, and analog synthesizers leaves a soulful imprint. Drummer Richard Bailey is in equal measure supportive and propulsive as he deftly combines elements of jazz and funk with contemporary mixed meters. Much of the album's success is also attributable to the excellent material, which includes Middleton's two originals and two collaborations with Beck, a clever arrangement of Lennon and McCartney's "She's a Woman," and two originals by Stevie Wonder. George Martin's ingenious production and string arrangements rival his greatest work. Beck's versatile soloing and diverse tones are clearly the album's focus, and he proves to be an adept rhythm player.