By: Rick Landers
The legendary Jeff Beck traces out the full spectrum of guitar on Live And Exclusive From The Grammy Museum, and if you’re a guitarist, this new album is a lesson plan on how guitar should be played. All guitar superlatives fit – blistering, stunning, monumental, crushing…absolutely no need for you to go anywhere else to define the overused phrase of “Guitar Hero”. This is the guy.
And there’s no need to draw comparisons to others, Beck can do it all, and this new release reflects the master’s touch rolling out riffs that rip and burn, touch and caress. In eight tracks, Jeff moves us through a colorful spectrum of styles. An enigmatic “Corpus Christi Carol” drips with bleeding emotion and longing. It is a five hundred year old Arthurian or Christian hymn that has been the subject of many artists, including the late Jeff Buckley. Beck’s version is a rapture that carries us not only back in time, but deep within ourselves.
“Hammerhead” follows and is as bombastic as “Corpus Christi Carol” is subtle. Think Hendrix channeled through George Lynch channeled through Beck and you get the picture. Menacing and always moving, the track’s predatory journey transports us into a deep well of darkness. Jeff’s guitar transmission shifts back to a soft machine with “Over the Rainbow”, that’s as sweet and pure as Judy Garland’s doe-eyed longing. A smoke-filled, expressive “Brush with the Blues” is a tormenting groove that reincarnates Deep South juke joint dives where cold sweat nights bleed with love gone bad.
A highlight at Beck’s recent performances is his rendition of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life”, a piece that’s masterful and is as listenable in its own way, as the original. The cover by Beck nailed him his own Grammy award. It’s followed up by “Nessum Dorma” (English: None Shall Sleep) an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot. The Beatles’ track and aria lull us into their moodiness, but then Jeff shoves us around with an old Les Paul and Mary Ford cut, “How High the Moon” that’s upbeat, cheerful and head snapping, and a fine tribute to Les and Mary.
Of course, no Jeff Beck performance is complete without the gospel-influenced track written by Curtis Mayfield, “People Get Ready”. The song has become Jeff’s signature over the years and his instrumental interpretation is exquisite.
Five time Grammy winner, Jeff Beck, and his group comprised of Narada Michael Walden (drums), Rhonda Smith (bass), and Jason Rebello (keyboards), showcase their 2010 tour live performances on Jeff Beck Live!, offering those who weren’t able to cop a ticket a treasure trove of Jeff Beck at his very best.