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Jeff Beck - Performing this week....Live at Ronnie Scott's CD (album) cover


Jeff Beck

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow album is one of my favourite albums of all time, and I've been waiting for a suitable follow-up for years. Finally, here it is! Wired was a good album, and Beck's live album with the Jan Hammer Group was interesting, but Performing This Week is great. The song selections from across the years and the arrangements are excellent, as is the playing by Beck and his band of Vinnie Colaiuta, Jason Rebello and the young Aussie wunderkund Tal Wilkenfeld. This album is a must for fans of rock and jazz-rock fusion, and proves that Beck still has it!
Report this review (#222204)
Posted Sunday, June 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars If I were to say what is the prog would not be able to give a definition. But I'm sure that I include in this category PFM and Genesis like Pestilence and Jeff Beck. Because yes, for me Prog is also Jeff Beck that plays a sort of Prog Blues/ Hard Rock and from the middle of 70's plays Jazz Rock/ Fusion and today plays a pure mix of Prog Blues, Jazz Rock/ Fusion, Power Metal, Soul, Funk, Reggae and pure Rock! Nevertheless, if I were uio define the music of Jeff Beck I should say: 'Jeff Beck plays guitar. He joined the R'n'R, Blues and Jazz to Heavy Metal, and succeed much better than Page Blackmore and anticipating Eddie Van Halen and Steve Morse! In a certain sense Jeff Beck is the Heavy Metal version of Rory Gallager'. Then I report what Charles Shaar Murray wrote in the sleevenotes of 'Performing This Week... Live At Ronnie Scott's': 'Personally, I love songs and singers too much for 'Instrumental Rock' ever to be one of my favourite genres. What makes the difference is: when I listen to Jeff Beck, I feel like I AM listening to a singer. Specifically: a singer capable of communicating every nuance of lyric. A Sinatra, an Aretha, a John Lee Hooker, a Howlin' Wolf, a Billie Holiday. When Beck plays a melody associated with a vocalist you can hear the lyrics. When he plays a piece which was always instrumental... You can imagine them. In a set almost obscenely with good things, look no further than 'A Day In The Life' or 'Cause We've Ended As Lovers' for documentary evidence of the uniquely vocal and expressive quality Beck brings the electric guitar'!

Said (and wrote) this, I can only stay in love with this live. Live album, even though Jeff is no longer a boy, is one of the best releases of my discography. This because Beck is a pure viruoso (easy for Jeff is virtuosism!) and Vinnie Colaiuta is another musician (drummer) that have these characteristics. Probably, since I love virtuoso drummers, this association (Beck- Colaiuta) is the winning element of this album, for me. If Beck plays with devil in his body, Vinnie Colaiuta is even better. For me the association that springs to my mind is this: a steam engine locomotive that runs fast and powerful to Paradise! If Jeff is a continuous solo... Vinnie is a drums solo made man!

I love 'Beck's Bolero' (a pure Bolero Rock written in 1966 by Jimmy Page), Eternity's Breath and Stratus (two massacre compositions for guitar and drums by John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham for Mahavishnu orchestra), 'Behind The Veil' (a Reggae Rock Blues by Tony Hymas), 'Led Boots' and Scatterbain' (written by Max Middleton... and another two massacre songs for guitar and drums in these versions), 'Space Boogie' (Hymas/ Simon Phillips... That is another massacre song) and 'A Day In The Life (Lennon/ McCartney). The other songs are excellent!

Boys and Girls... Ladies and Gentlemen... This is Jeff Beck... An immortal axeman... One guitar, one voice! And history is rewritten!

Report this review (#237112)
Posted Friday, September 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars It's hard to avoid comparisons with the Japan-only release at BB King Blues Club of 03, but the sound is quite different and so is the line-up. With a star-studded line-up of Colaiuta on drums, Rebello on keys, Jeff introduces us to teenage redhead girl bass wonder (only 17 years old) Tal Wlikenfield on bass, and does that kid ever rock?.. What is amazing is that Jeff never sounds like he's mentally on a tropical island somewhere around the globe, no the man is in front of you giving the best of himself to his crowd of the moment

Starting on the classic Bolero, the set is mostly oriented towards Jeff's 70's career, but the numerous covers from Cobham and McLaughlin shows that he was never much a songwriter, but is a first class interpreter. Compared to the BB King Japan-only release, this one is a bit mellower, a bit jazzier too, more mature and some of the usual Beck standards are missing, like Freeway Jam. Beck seems to revisit his last three studio albums to some extent, but his Guitar Shop album has well, with a certain success, as these track don't throw us off from what we expect from him. Overall, a cool jazz-rock fusion night that can only bring the 70's spirits without bringing out the unneeded nostalgia. Not superb enough to grace my top 5 of thiis year, but the top 20 certainly?.. I think the DVD should probably get the nod, and not just for Jeff's guitar antics, this time, but Wilkenfield's red hairs as well.

Report this review (#257119)
Posted Sunday, December 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Performing This Week....Live at Ronnie Scott's is a showcase of the energy and dynamic guitar playing of a legend.

Jeff Beck is an amazing guitarist that rivals all the great guitarists as being one of the more bluesy, and subtle in terms of lead breaks and virtuoso speed picking. He is more of an interpreter of music rather than a writer. Influences of John McLaughlin and The Beatles are prevalent in this performance. Beck prefers to make his guitar sing than play as fast as he can and show how many notes in a second he is capable of. Every track is full of incredible precision guitar riffs, but the emotion he pours out into the music is the main drawcard. He doesn't speak at all during the concert performance here, instead allowing his guitar to do the talking. The guitar in fact takes the audience on a powerful journey of some of his most beloved pieces and some wonderful surprises. As I have heard very little of the man's work, apart form the classic albums, this live album served as a delightful slice of the brilliance Beck is capable of.

Highlights abound such as the emotive A Day In The Life, which is an incredible interpretation of The Beatles' classic. Mention should be made of the riffing bluesy Stratus, that stays in the head with an infectious melody. The guitar swells that wail in solitude are sheer beauty on Cause We've Ended As Lovers from the celebrated 'Blow By Blow' album. Behind The Veil has a reggae feel and some quirky little licks that drive it. You Never Know blazes away with a funky bassline and keyboard stabs, with the lead guitar always present as the mouthpiece for the music. Nadia sounds more experimental, like Steve Vai in fact the way it sings with sustained bends and whammy bar strikes. Blast From The East is superb with a pulsating riff and tons of embellishments with jazz fusion drums. Led Boots is drum heavy and the guitars are more aggressive; the crowd recognise it as a classic from 'Wired' for good reason. The melancholia of Angel is followed by a strange little guitar solo and then some fast hi hat work on percussion is built up with loud crashes until Beck lets loose with super fast fret melting finger work. The bass tries to keep up on this and it is fun to hear the progressive nuances at play here, including some razor sharp time changes.

There are some slow blues on the next track, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat-Brush With The Blues which is a dreamy piece, based on the 'Wired' track, followed by melody driven rock on Space Boogie. This track has some accomplished piano work too with a strong improv jazz feel. Big Block is full on blues with amazing dexterous guitar playing including superb hammer ons and sweep picking. This is followed by the aforementioned The Beatles track, and then after a well deserved thunderous applause it culminates in the solo Where Were You, reminding me of the beauty of Deer Hunter Theme, and this has sweet harmonics and emotional sustained notes bent out of shape. The crowd are deathly silent, perhaps mesmirised by this man's talent. At the end they applaud and Beck then thanks the crowd and hopes to see them again sometime. I wonder where I was when this man was at his peak.

Hendrix, Vai, Satriani and Malmsteen have always been favourite guitarists, and now I have to add Beck to the list. He is an incredible guitarist that must be heard by anyone interested in strong instrumental guitar playing.

Report this review (#376130)
Posted Friday, January 7, 2011 | Review Permalink

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