Steve Miller, Kirk Hammett, Warren Haynes, Little Steven.. those were some of the heavy cats in the crowd that night in New York at The Iridium as Jeff Beck and friends raucously saluted Les Paul with a tribute. Sporting a fat hollow-body Les Paul, Beck and the band appear in period attire like they were headed to a bowling alley in the Leave It To Beaver-era. They perform all covers of tracks originally featuring Les Paul or from the original rock n' roll period.
"If the voice don't say it, the guitar will play it," raps Saffron on "Pork-U-Pine," the third track on Jeff Beck's minimally titled Jeff. And he does. Beck teams with producer Andy Wright, the man responsible for his more complete immersion into electronic backdrops on his last outing, You Had It Coming. This time the transition is complete. Beck used electronica first on Who Else!, moved a little more into the fire on You Had It Coming, and here merges his full-on Beck-Ola guitar heaviness with the sounds of contemporary spazz-out big beats and noise. Beck and Wright employ Apollo 440 on "Grease Monkey"…
Blow by Blow typifies Jeff Beck's wonderfully unpredictable career. Released in 1975, Beck's fifth effort as a leader and first instrumental album was a marked departure from its more rock-based predecessors. Only composer/keyboardist Max Middleton returned from Beck's previous lineups. To Beck's credit, Blow by Blow features a tremendous supporting cast. Middleton's tasteful use of the Fender Rhodes, clavinet, and analog synthesizers leaves a soulful imprint. Drummer Richard Bailey is in equal measure supportive and propulsive as he deftly combines elements of jazz and funk with contemporary mixed meters. Much of the album's success is also attributable to the excellent material, which includes Middleton's two originals and two collaborations with Beck, a clever arrangement of Lennon and McCartney's "She's a Woman," and two originals by Stevie Wonder. George Martin's ingenious production and string arrangements rival his greatest work. Beck's versatile soloing and diverse tones are clearly the album's focus, and he proves to be an adept rhythm player.
Crazy Legs is a studio album by Jeff Beck and the Big Town Playboys, released on 29 June 1993. The recording is an album of Gene Vincent songs. The album is considered to be a tribute to Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, and in particular to Vincent's early guitarist Cliff Gallup, whom Beck recognized as his biggest influence.
Released in 1976, Jeff Beck's Wired contains some of the best jazz-rock fusion of the period. Wired is generally more muscular, albeit less-unique than its predecessor, Blow by Blow. Joining keyboardist Max Middleton, drummer Richard Bailey, and producer George Martin from the Blow by Blow sessions are drummer Narada Michael Walden, bassist Wilbur Bascomb, and keyboardist Jan Hammer. Beck contributed no original material to Wired, instead relying on the considerable talents of his supporting cast. Perhaps this explains why Wired is not as cohesive as Blow by Blow, seemingly more assembled from component parts. Walden's powerful drumming propels much of Wired, particularly Middleton's explosive opener, "Led Boots," where Beck erupts into a stunning solo of volcanic intensity. Walden also contributes four compositions, including the funk-infused "Come Dancing," which adds an unnamed horn section. While Walden's "Sophie" is overly long and marred by Hammer's arena rock clichés, his "Play With Me" is spirited and Hammer's soloing more melodic.
Anyone who caught Jeff Beck's set at Eric Clapton's 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival (or even the two-song DVD excerpt) was probably salivating at the hope that an entire performance with the same band would appear on CD and DVD. This is it, 72 minutes and 16 tracks compiled from a week of shows at the U.K.'s famed Ronnie Scott's, and it's as impressive as any Beck fan would expect. The guitarist's last official U.S.-released live disc was from his 1976 Wired tour (an authorized "bootleg" of his 2006 tour with bassist Pino Palladino is available at gigs and online; others pop up as expensive imports), making the appearance of this music from just over three decades later a long-awaited, much-anticipated event.