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Music DVD Review: Jeff Beck – Performing This Week…Live At Ronnie Scott’s

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There may be a few people on this earth who can play the guitar as well as Jeff Beck but there are none better. He can make the instrument sing, weep, and soar. Beck allows the guitar to be his voice.

Beck will turn 65 this year. He has had a storied career and next month will be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the second time. The first occurred in 1992 as a member of the legendary Yardbirds, and now he will enter as a solo artist. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him at number 14 on their list of The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time and in my opinion that was too low.

2007 found him returning to the intimate setting of Ronnie Scott’s for a series performances that would form the basis of this 21 track DVD titled Performing This Week…Live At Ronnie Scott’s.  Supporting him are keyboardist Jason Rebello, legendary jazz drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, and the stunning 23 year old Australian bassist Tal Wilkenfeld. Colaiuta is one of the few musicians who talent wise can meet Beck as an equal. His jazz influenced drumming and the ability to follow Beck’s leads are extraordinary. Wilkenfeld, who looks sixteen, is on the fast track to becoming one of music’s great bass players.

“Beck’s Bolero” quickly establishes the fact that he has lost none of his virtuosity. He remains not only a technical master but his passion is transmitted to the audience. “Eternity’s Breath” and “Stratus,” written by John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham respectively, are the kind of jazz/rock fusion songs at which he excels.

There are two stunning performances that should be required watching and listening for anyone who appreciates the guitar as an instrument. His take on the Lennon/McCartney tune, “A Day In The Life,” is mesmerizing as each note is presented with a stunning clarity in this innovative interpretation. Stevie Wonder’s “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” features Beck and Wilkenfeld trading solo’s that have the same structure and melody but played on lead guitar and bass.

Eric Clapton appears for two old blues numbers. While he provides the vocals on Muddy Waters “Little Brown Bird” and Willie Dixon’s “You Need Me,” it is the trading of solos and the intertwining of their guitars that is superb. Clapton is often a little too laid back for my taste but here he cuts loose a little.

Performing This Week…Live At Ronnie Scot’s presents Jeff Beck at his best. My only regret is that the Blu-ray edition contains an additional seven song rockabilly set which I will need to track down. Someone once said; “God plays the guitar using Jeff Beck’s hands.” Amen Brother!

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About David Bowling

  • http://blogcritics.org Clarence Yu

    I am getting a hold of this album soon. I have always loved Beck but hated the way he has been underrated. He can blow away most of the “great guitarists” without batting an eyelash. Though I guess he has suffered through some problems relating to ego, which prevented him from being a team player. I guess that is the gift and curse of being so talented.

  • http://blogcritics.org Clarence Yu

    I just re-read the review. Vinnie Colauita is an added bonus to getting this album.

  • Brien Comerford

    Jeff Beck belies age evidenced by the fact that he’s in his prime at the age of 64. His virtousity, riffs, tones and whammy bar mastery are incomparable. He’s also an animal loving vegetarian, a hot rod builder and a landscaper.

  • Bulldog

    I will have the pleasure of seeing JB for the 13th time next month.Every show was outstanding and never repetitive.I play and every time I see him I cuss my fingers for not being able to do what he does. He is the best there is and with a new manager hopefully will get his due soon.I have seen him with Santana , Jonny Lang,BB King& Stevie Ray Vaughan and Beck blew them away! Ego yes Talent extraordinaire Go see him yourself and watch the master of the stratocaster at work making his emotions flow thru his fingers into his guitar and into your ears.Wow ,how in the hell, no way and beautiful will be a few words you will be saying.
    Jeff thank you for sharing your music making us your fans happy.

  • Bulldog

    Just watched the blu ray dvd.All I can say is OH MY GOD! Jeff is the master of the stratocaster.His band are tight and great.Jimmy Page-Robert Plant-Joe Cocker-Brian May & Jon Bon Jovi are part of the crowd.On the blu ray disc there is bonus material of Jeff and the Big City Playboys doing a great set of oldies.Jeff and the band do lots of smiles & laughs and seem to be having a great time.

  • Bulldog

    Got to see JB at the Electric Factory in Philly.Except for the standing room only it was a night I will never forget.Jeff did not speak to the crowd until the end of the set.He did blow kisses and bow his head all along smiling more than ever.The band is awesome very tight and watch Jeff in case he wants to change things up.Tal played great-she is a knockout and played a song on her bass doing the melody while Jeff did her bass part on the upper part of her bass.Though he is starting to look his age (65) he does not slow down on playing ( even with several hand cramps)or pleasing himself as well as his fans.When Jeff played in LA he had Joss Stone – John Mayer & Rod Stewart perform with him.No fighting so maybe there is hope for another Beck/Stewart song someday?JB played Manic Depression (Jimi Hendrix) & I want to take you higher ( Sly & the family Stone) please Jeff hurry back to the East coast soon. Thank you for being the true “Master of the Stratocaster”