R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5   Go Down

Author Topic: Critic At Large, Vo. I to IV  (Read 25067 times)

Klaus Heyne

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3154
Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2010, 05:46:18 PM »

Recently Jeff Beck gave an interview to NPR’s ‘Weekend All Things Considered’ promoting his new CD.
From what I could tell from the snippets played, this was yet another of Beck’s grab-bag recording sessions of recent years, drawing an unlikely arc, from robot-shred to a Strat-version of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma. JB said he uses his guitar more and more as “an approximation to the human voice”- cleaning up ye olde fuzz box approach to electrified guitar playing he had pioneered during his early rock & roll days.


A few weeks ago, the guy turned 66! To me, he continues to be the role model of a musician who remains phenomenally contemporary and flexible in his musical outlook, while continually refining his craft. And doing so well into an age usually associated with a rock musician’s retirement, liver transplant or, worse, dry-milking his best years one last time on state fairground stages.


I could never figure out how JB could get better as a guitar player from decade to decade, considering numerous stories of yearlong hiatuses, when he would rather play grease monkey in the garage pit of his British Country Estate wrenching on his hot rods instead of practicing scales for hours. (There’s yet another role model for every aspiring guitar god: play with the best sidemen/women on the best stages all over the world, and never practice!)

And, I don’t mean ‘getting better’ as in: ‘not bad for a sixty-six-year-old’; but simply better, by any definition of what makes a guitar player’s output more refined, coaxing the emotional essence out of this most innovate instrument of our time.


There was the night, at Frankfurt’s Storyville Club, ca. 1970, when a couple of JB aficionado buddies of mine and I were patiently waiting out (better: enduring) a three-hour set by opener “Fat Mattress” (Noel Redding’s short-lived solo-project), only to be told by the promoter, around 1:20 in the morning, that JB would not show.

“Why?” the enraged crowd demanded to know. “Because he didn’t feel like playing tonight!” the resigned promoter intoned from the stage. On the way home that early morning my emotions vacillated from feeling insulted (who does he think he is!) to insecurity (did JB peek through the curtains during the opener and decided that I and my German peers were simply not sophisticated enough an audience for the British master to waste his talents on?)

Whatever the cause of his absence, I reciprocated with a JB abstinence of my own for a few years, only to be transported within the first few notes from Beck’s oxblood-repainted Gold Top Les Paul to absolute bliss at his show at Berkeley’s Greek Theater, ca. 1978. Simon Phillips on drums, Max Middleton on keys as I recall; I forgot who was on bass.

It was heavenly. The tone! The power! (four Marshall stacks discretely hidden behind a black curtain) The dynamics!

Sitting there that evening on the cold stone bench in the chilly amphitheater with the backdrop of sun’s last rays bathing the Golden Gate bridge in warm orange-red I realized JB’s solution for any guitar (and bass) player who has ever been driven insane by incompetent FOH mixers: do not chance some hack behind a 96-channel board to ruin your tone! JB delivered the sweet, powerful overdrive blow from his guitar directly to my ears, right out of his battery of KT66s or EL34s or whatever power tubes glowed out the back of his Marshalls, into the assembled Celestioned-4x12 stacks below - that way keeping full and sole control of his tonal and dynamic expression; never to be messed with by shrill, crystalline PA tweeters or other interlopers to good sound.

I found JB’s 1980’s and early ‘90s recorded output lackluster, and, despite an ever more nuanced and inventive use of the Stratocaster-by then pretty much his exclusive tool of expression-his playing was stylistically all over the map, patches of textures or riffs with little discernible overall song structure; recordings I bought of that period were one or two-time listening events before being filed under ‘B’ in my LP/CD rack.


----------

Jeff Beck’s recorded output throughout the 1990s continued to be thematically scattered and unfocused. Not unlike Neil Young, he flirted with the cutting edge stylistic fads of the decade-rock hard drum machine loops, wrapped in barbed wire frequencies and submerged in digital ice. Yet, his tone, musical maturation and technical mastery of the Stratocaster continued to dazzle in his live shows. His ingenious use of the vibrato bar (an evolution continuing to date) made him the true successor, rather than imitator, of Jimi Hendrix’s pioneering use of the whammy bar as musical expression rather than gimmicky effect.

Considering JB’s unlucky hand to fully communicate his art to the listener through an entire, cohesive album- i.e. most of his recordings past his two George Martin-directed masterpieces of the mid 1970s- it is therefore not surprising that one of the finest testimony to his genius is a live-DVD, recorded last year, at Ronnie Scott’s in London. With Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and the astounding female Australian bassist Tal Wilkenfeld, who at the time was barely 23 years old (where could she possibly go from here?), JB’s playing is simply not showing the usual ravages of time, drug use or arthritis, even if one tried very hard to find them. Aside of his furrowed face, and a gallon of hair dye that’s keeping his 60’s-style mane jet black, one would be hard pressed to detect a flattening or descent in his artistic arc in this documentary of his masterful guitar playing.

But actuary tables can’t be beat: make an effort to catch the master live, while he’s at the top of his game!
Logged
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

compasspnt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16266
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2010, 06:06:52 PM »

Jeff is a true Master of the instrument.

Few, if any, can match him.

He has consistently played well, and I agree, he shows no signs of aging or slowing down at all.

He has taken good care of himself, and has not fallen prey to some of the bad influences that have affected certain others.

Jeff is also a very intelligent and nice person, and I would wager will perform astoundingly for many years to come!

Go Jeff.
Logged

Glenn Bucci

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 627
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #47 on: August 12, 2010, 01:17:46 PM »

From Jeff Beck, I learned of his mentors...Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and Louis Armstrong and have greatly enjoyed their music as well.

Jeff's current band has Ronda Smith on bass who is more of a groove/funk player, and he has Max back on drums from the old days. He sounds pretty amazing as he works his textures on the notes with the whammy bar, and a little less speed. The energy in his playing has inspired my playing as well since I started playing guitar in 1976. Clapton, Beck, and Mick Taylor were my biggest influences on guitar.
Logged

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #48 on: August 12, 2010, 01:18:11 PM »

I have some multitracks from a concert he did a few years back.  Soloing his guitar and listening is a revelation.  His trem arm technique alone is a work of art.  

THE.  BEST.  ELECTRIC.  GUITARIST.  ALIVE.  PERIOD.
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

compasspnt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16266
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2010, 01:29:12 PM »

J.J. Blair wrote on Thu, 12 August 2010 13:18

THE.  BEST.  ELECTRIC.  GUITARIST.  ALIVE.  PERIOD.



Fixed that for you.
Logged

Bill_Urick

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1626
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2010, 08:19:50 PM »

J.J. Blair wrote on Thu, 12 August 2010 13:18


THE.  BEST.  ELECTRIC.  GUITARIST.  ALIVE.  PERIOD.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlfxe8ujn7M
Logged
Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for everyone thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.

KB_S1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 931
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #51 on: August 13, 2010, 06:18:28 AM »

For all that Jeff Beck's 90's material may not be the most highly revered it did serve a great purpose for me.
It acted as a bridge between my Dad and I for musical taste and understanding.

When he bought 'Who else' he was intrigued by all the programmed drums and I was fascinated by the real guitar playing being integrated into it.
This led to me playing him a lot of my stuff like The Prodigy, Leftfield and the Chemical Brothers and explaining how it was made (roughly).
I got to hear a lot more of Jeff Beck and was introduced to the fairy tale that was British rock and pop in the 60's and how all of these incredibly talented musicians wove together and formed so many great bands with timeless albums.

For that alone I am very grateful to Jeff Beck.
Logged
<a href="http://www.parklanerecordingstudios.com/" class="link3">Park Lane Studio</a> Where to find me most of the time<br /><br />

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kb_s1/" class="link3">Flickr</a>where to see what I have been up to  <br /><br />

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

burp182

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 251
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #53 on: August 14, 2010, 04:09:21 PM »

I agree with everything that's been said about Jeff. He is amazing in his continuing upward curve. I feel fellow legends Page and Clapton both leveled off (or declined, depending on your preferences) but Jeff continues to amaze.
One thing - Klaus mentioned in his first post that Jeff doesn't depend on the PA to get his sound to the audience. This can be an issue. Several years ago, I went to see Jeff at the Universal (now Gibson) Amphitheatre. Not a small place. Jeff was SO LOUD that only about a third of the crowd was left at the end. The performance was jaw-dropping, so that wasn't the reason for the exodus. I went to the FOH position to talk to the mixer and he showed me the fader all the way off. Sooo....be prepared in case it's one of those nights but never miss him live. That's why they invented earplugs!
Best damn tinnitus of my life...
Logged

Tim Campbell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 203
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2010, 06:58:59 PM »

Jeff Beck is the reason I ever started playing music.

I saw the Yardbirds on the Hullabaloo tv program. Jeff was playing his esquire and to me as a 10 year old kid I thought he made it sound like a saxophone (I didn't know anything about distortion at that time). That seemed like the most exciting thing in the world - learn to make a guitar sound like a saxophone.I've spent many of these years since trying to do just that.

I had kind of drifted away from Jeff's playing for a while until I heard "Nadia". No other guitar playing moves me as much as his on that song.
Logged
Campbell Transmitter
www.timcampbell.dk

Unwinder

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 467
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #55 on: August 17, 2010, 04:51:10 PM »

Klaus Heyne wrote on Wed, 11 August 2010 22:46

 
I could never figure out how JB could get better as a guitar player from decade to decade, considering numerous stories of yearlong hiatuses, when he would rather play grease monkey in the garage pit under his hot rods instead of practicing scales for hours. (There’s yet another role model for every aspiring guitar god: play with the best sidemen/women on the best stages all over the world, and never practice!)
And, I don’t mean ‘better’ as in: ‘not bad for a sixty-six-year-old’; but simply better, by any definition of what makes a guitar player’s output more refined.




He simply doesn't get in his own way..

He's in alignment with that which is already there. So, he doesn't resist change...and so he becomes more 'present' in his craft. That's exactly why it's so hard to define or, describe.

Klaus Heyne

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3154
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #56 on: August 17, 2010, 05:09:32 PM »

Well said. Thank you! I shall remember that for my own musical endeavours.
Logged
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Jim Williams

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1105
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #57 on: August 18, 2010, 10:52:25 AM »

My experience with Jeff was with luthier Rex Bogue at a Mahavisnu Orchestra concert back in the 1970's. We had built the custom double neck guitar John McLaughlin made famous. Jeff also played at that same Santa Monica civic auditorium concert. John was all gaga about his custom guitar and invited Jeff to meet Rex and me, the guys behind his groundbreaking double neck guitar.

Jeff was extremely rude and blew us AND John McLaughlin off badly. Afterwards I felt badly for John as Jeff was a major league asshole to him, not being very concerned about myself. I've met enough major league famous a-holes in my life not to get worked up about it. As much as I have enjoyed some of Jeff's output, every time I hear him I think about that guy at that concert. I can't separate the artist from the man.

You only have one chance to make a first impression.
Logged
Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades

Plush

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 264
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #58 on: September 03, 2010, 11:48:01 PM »

Here's Jeff at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago this summer.

I had a chance to have a beer with him and visit for a little while.

He's looking great and playing fantastic!

He outshone all other players that day.

Logged
Hudson Fair
Atelier HudSonic, Chicago

http://www.myspace.com/hudsonek

compasspnt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16266
Re: Critic at Large, Vol. IV: Jeff Beck
« Reply #59 on: September 05, 2010, 12:49:04 AM »

Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5   Go Up
 

Site Hosted By Ashdown Technologies, Inc.

Page created in 0.07 seconds with 22 queries.