Monday, May 16, 2011
Jeff Beck captivated a packed Ruth Eckerd Hall on Friday night with his accustom array of impressive guitar licks and melodious intelligence. The Friday show was added by popular demand to appease the fans that couldn’t get tickets for Saturday’s sold out show.
It’s a thrill to be able to witness a genuine guitar hero before the hands of time converts him to folklore. There are very few guitarists that remain in the spotlight with a resume like Jeff Beck's.
At 66, Beck has already been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice. He was first inducted as a member of the British Invasion/Blues/ Rock Innovators - The Yardbirds. (“Heart Full of Soul,” “I’m A Man,” “Shapes of Things,” “Over Under Sideways Down”) The Yardbirds were also known for employing three of the greatest guitarist in the universe- Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.
Jeff Beck was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall again as a solo performer in 2009. (Jimmy Page inducted Beck at the ceremony)
After Syd Barrett left Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck was asked to join the band. (Members of Floyd were extremely nervous about asking him and barely found the nerve) Beck declined and David Gilmour became Floyd’s guitar virtuoso and lead vocalist.
The first edition of the Jeff Beck Group included Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood.
In 1972, he formed the hard driving Beck, Bogert & Appice.
By 1975, Beck’s masterpiece Blow by Blow was recorded fueling Beck’s Jazz-fusion exploits. The album was produced by Sir George Martin. (The Beatles)
Beck’s experimentations with eccentric guitar harmonies have both stimulated and fascinated his audiences over the years.
Jeff Beck has collaborated with rocks elite, including Jan Hammer, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger and Robert Plant’s Honeydrippers.
His latest albums are Jeff Beck Rock ‘N’ Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul) and Emotion & Commotion - Which was recently awarded two Grammy Awards for - Best Rock Instrumental Performance on “Hammerhead” and Best Pop Instrumental Performance for his arrangement of Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.” Beck has won a total of eight Grammy’s in his lifetime.
Jeff Beck’s performance on Friday night was prodigious. Beck launched his set with “Plan B” from the album Jeff, an exciting futuristic space jam. Then Beck demonstrated his jazz/ rock grooves with a Billy Cobham cover called “Stratus.”
Beck jolted into “Led Boots” from his 1976 critically acclaimed album called Wired.
The mellifluous “Corpus Christi Carol” from the Emotion & Commotion album was Jeff’s next selection. Then Beck played his Grammy winning tune “Hammerhead” from the same album. The song’s Hendrix-like intro erupted into Beck's signature- orchestrated rock fusion- extravaganza, a brilliant measure.
“Mna na h-Eireann” an Irish tune (Considered as Irish rebel music) composed by Sean O’Riada, and a Chieftains cover song was played next. Rhonda Smith’s bass performance was prominent during the song.
“People Get Ready” a 1965 classic by Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions was rendered. Beck’s version is noted for his collaborations with Rod Stewart.
More electrified rock/jazz/funk amalgamation was executed with “You Never Know” form the 1980- There and Back album.
Then Jeff Beck transformed his audience back to a period perhaps when American blues were first created with his own rendition of “Rollin and Tumblin” a Muddy Waters cover tune.
“Big Block” from the 1989 album Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop was featured next on the bill.
“Over the Rainbow” the Judy Garland cover ballad from The Wizard of Oz was Beck’s melancholy guitar wizardry entry that rained tears upon the Ruth Eckerd audience.
A reluctant Beck didn’t want to perform the next selection but was convinced to do so by his drummer who also sang the vocals. The song "Little Wing" is a Jimi Hendrix composition from the Axis: Bold as Love album. It was great to hear a Hendrix classic played by Beck, another axe-master.
Then Beck played “Blue Wind,” from the Wired album. The tune is a convoluted piece of fusion that one could almost swear spoke to you in a human voice rather than musical tone.
Beck’s following selection was “Dirty Mind” from the 2001 release- You Had It Coming. A tune composed with Robin Trower-like guitar riffs. A space-aged version of the blues followed next with “Brush with the Blues.”
Jeff Beck's final song before the encore was the Lennon/McCartney penned classic “A Day in the Life.” A remarkable interpretation beautifully composed and overwhelming the Ruth Eckerd audience to its feet.
Beck returned for an encore and played the Alfred Drake cover tune “How High The Moon” from the album Jeff Beck Rock ‘N’ Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul) followed by Sly & The Family Stone’s, “I Want To Take You Higher.” Beck concluded the evening with his Grammy winning and surreal rendition of “Nessun Dorma” from the album Emotion & Commotion.
Although my personal favorites, "I'm Going Down," "Beck's Bolero," "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" and "Thelonius" were not featured tonight, I was still thoroughly inspired by the performance of guitar legend Jeff Beck.
Beck has been and continues to be one of the greatest guitarists on the planet. And it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if someone had said, “I just saw Jeff Beck climb into a spaceship to perform at another universe.”
I'd like to thank photographer Mark Weaver and the entire staff at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
Order my new book Check the Gs- The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business. You can get your copy here. Available for Kindle.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
By Ray Shasho
It’s a classic rock double billing starring Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks, and it premiers in Florida. “The Heart & Soul Tour”, will launch March 20th at the BankAtlantic Center http://www.bankatlanticcenter.com/index2.asp in Fort Lauderdale and make a stop in Tampa at the St. Pete Times Forum on March 23rd.
According to Rod Stewarts website, tickets for the Heart & Soul Tour will go on sale this Friday, January 21st at 10 am. http://www.rodstewart.com/us/home
Tickets for the Tampa show will go on sale this Saturday, January 22nd at 10 am. Ticket prices are $49.50, $75.00, $95.00 and $149.50. http://www.sptimesforum.com/
“We haven’t yet begun rehearsals but I can already tell you this, with Stevie on board our audiences are in store for an evening of pure rock & roll music. I’m already thinking about which of my old favourites to bring back and vocally, I think we’ve both begun thinking about which songs might be great fun and well-suited for a duet or two."Stevie Nicks will be releasing her first new material in a decade with a new CD called, In: Your Dreams on May 3rd. Stevie’s new CD is available for fans to pre order at stevienicks.warnerreprise.com.
Nicks is now 62 years of age.
She joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974. The band was actually formed in 1967 in London. The only original member of the band that remains today is drummer Mick Fleetwood.
Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album won a Grammy award for the “Album of the year” in 1977. http://www.fleetwoodmac.com/
In 1981 Nicks released her first solo album Bella Donna. The album hit number one on the U.S. Billboard charts and continues to be her best selling solo album of all-time. http://rockalittle.com/ the official Stevie Nicks website.
Stevie Nicks loves to draw angels. She started drawing after her best friend Robin Anderson died of Leukemia. http://www.inherownwords.com/art.htm
Rod Stewart finished 2010 at the top of the album and touring charts.
He turned 66 on January 10th.
Stewart is a longtime rocker. He was recruited in 1967 by ex Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck for a vocalist-front man position with the Jeff Beck Group. The band included Beck, Stewart, Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones), and Aynsley Dunbar (John Lennon, David Bowie, Jefferson Starship, and Whitesnake) on drums. It was an all-star line-up that demised prematurely perhaps from all the bickering going on.
In 1969 Steve Marriott left the “Small Faces” to join Humble Pie, so Stewart and Wood left the Jeff Beck Group to join Ronnie Lane, Ian Mclagen, and Kenney Jones to form “Faces.”
In 1971 Stewart recorded the album Every Picture Tells a Story which featured the smash hit Maggie May. The album is considered one of the great classic rock albums of all time. It was ranked 172nd on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album also featured Rod’s songwriting talents. Stewart recorded with and without Faces.
In 1975 the band toured the US twice. During that year Ronnie Wood left to join the Rolling Stones. The band finally split up at the end of the year.
Then Stewart traded in his blue suede shoes for boogie shoes when he recorded the number one hit, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” in 1978.
Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Stewart remained a pop icon by singing slower tunes that became chart favorites, but leaving his “Rockin Rod” image behind.
Later Stewart underwent throat surgery to remove a benign cancerous node.
And now Stewart sings collections of American Classics in recordings called, The Great American Songbook. He’s set to release The Best of… The Great American Songbook which should be out in stores on February 1st.
Do you have a classic rock story that you want to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org