October 03, 2013

Jeff Beck - The Gentle Beck

Jeff Beck is one of the greatest rock and roll guitarists of all time — of that there is no doubt, but there is much more to Beck than plain old rock. Certainly he's rocked with the best of them, from the early days with the Yardbirds, through various versions of The Jeff Beck Group, but his many solo albums also feature some very fine jazz fusion.

Beck is also one of the very best sidemen any singer could hope to have accompany them. His solo guitar work on so many songs by other artists are numerous, from the lovely Stevie Wonder tune Looking for Another Pure Love to the great Rod Stewart vocal on People Get Ready. However, along with his heavy rockin' tunes, sprinkled throughout his albums are some of the most beautiful and haunting melodies this side of rock 'n' roll heaven. Definitely Maybe and Cause We've Ended As Lovers come to mind, along with a few others.

Nadia is from the 2001 album You Had It Coming, The album features Beck going full electronic on a heavy duty slam of driving tunes, with the exception of Nadia and one other track. This is typical of a Jeff Beck disc. Hard driving, relentless, in your face tunes filled with harsh reality, and then, amidst the dystopia, a soft, violet of light and beauty.

In this live performance at Ronnie Scott's, Beck is at his best. His band includes Vinnie Colaiuta on Drums, the amazing Tal Wilkenfeld on Bass and Jason Rebello on Keyboard. This tune is simply haunting. Beck is the master of the tremolo bar and he puts it to good use here. For someone who can rock you out of your socks until your eyeballs pop, his light, gentle touch is simply amazing.

Here's another haunting tune featuring a great Beck solo from the same Live Concert at Ronnie Scott's. Imogen Heap is a sexy, beautiful lady who has a unique vocal style that makes your toes tingle.

I said Tal Wilkenfeld is amazing on bass guitar. Here's a live rendition of Cause We're Ended As Lovers from Eric Clapton's 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival. Beck is at his usual best — that guitar is actually crying! But watch for Tal's bass solo. 'Nuff said.

I've watched these three videos over and over again and never get tired of them. And just to round out the Gentle Ben videos, here he is with The Jeff Beck Group in the early 1970's doing Definitely Maybe. He really knows how to make a guitar cry.

Jeff Beck - Guitar Hero


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