11 Oct JEFF BECK- “JAZZ- ROCK INNOVATOR”

JEFF BECK PERFORMING LIVE IN OAKLAND, CA. ON 6-6-76. PHOTO ART BY BEN UPHAM. MAGICAL MOMENT PHOTOS.

JEFF BECK AT THE “DAY ON THE GREEN” IN OAKLAND, CA. ON 6-6-76. PHOTO ART BY BEN UPHAM.

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JEFF BECK-
“PROVES HE’S JAZZ-ROCK INNOVATOR”
BY NICK FOUNTAS
THE LOWELL SUN
LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTES
OCTOBER 18, 1976

Ten years, a near-fatal collision, and countless album credits later, Jeff Beck remains on the forefront as rock music’s premier guitarist.
His guitar virtuosity has been much hailed and often (unsuccessfully) copied.
His recent concert at Boston’s Music Hall represented another chapter in Jeff Beck’s life. His current performing tour with the Jan Hammer Group has astounded both record people and the public with the best of jazz-influenced rock.
Known as a perfectionist in music circles, Jeff cannot be an easy musician to cope with under the stress of an extended tour. But if the communication and feeling that he and Jan Hammer exude during a performance is any indication, the two virtuoso’s will play together for quite some time.
The show was opened by “Heart”, a six-piece rock conglomeration with a hit single high in the charts. The group’s saving grace are two ladies who can belt out tunes wilh the combined power of Janis Joplin and Maggie Bell. “Heart” can kick down the walls with gutsy rock and roll, but the stage act is pretentious. They copy too many other people’s stage gimmicks. If they get out of this rut, it will be from the dedication and foresight of the two ladies, after reorienting their goals and methods.
Although the Jan Hammer Group serves mostly to back-up Beck, they were afforded the opportunity to perform six numbers before being joined by The Wiz. In a dazzling mini-set, the four-piece band performed much of Jan’s music from his past three solo albums. Hammer is an incredibly creative keyboardist who pays special attention to his Mini-Moog synthesizer. Fernando Saunders (bass), Tony Smith (drums), and Steven Kindler (violin) perform with ferocity characteristic of the most sincere individuals. They meld their personal styles and influences into a jazz-rock agglomeration that can wail.
Jan’s mini-symphony “Darkness/Earth in Search of a Sun” featured an eerie repeating pattern that paved the way for Beck’s dramatic introduction at the climax of the piece. The wonder-guitarist from Surrey emerged to a sold-out hall during the final crescendo to bring it to a powerful climax. It seemed that no introduction was necessary. Boston knew the man who had visited here so many times before, and we are sure he recognized many of the faces, too, standing and applauding before him. Beck began torturing his axe with “You Know What I Mean”, a funky tune from the “Blow By Blow” collection. Though the live versions differed somewhat from the original recordings, Jeff and Jan merged as one in an astounding display of talent. Hammer’s synthesis and Beck’s wailing, screaming guitar might have convinced the Rocky Mountains to chase and crush their spectre John Denver, for everyone knows those mountains enjoy a rock.
The performance also was recorded for possible future use as a live album. If the album materializes, reggae-inspired “She’s a Woman” will have to make its comical appearance. Jeff seems to have matured immensely over the past two albums, “Blow By Blow” and “Wired.” Less arrogant, his music has approached the level of maximum proficiency. His last two albums have been certified gold records.
Plagued in the past by futile attempts to find the perfect vocalist, he has given up his search in favor of his present instrumental format. This lends itself most successfully to Beck’s jazz-rock bag. Additionally, the loss of the Jan Hammer Group would deal a double blow to the public’s needs and expectations. Having seen that Beck is still in excellent form, many left the Music Hall thinking not about what they had just seen, but wondering what will be next in the ever-changing bag-of-tricks of Jeff Beck.

JEFF BECK DISCOGRAPHY:

1968 Truth
1969 Beck-Ola
1971 Rough and Ready
1972 Jeff Beck Group
1973 Beck, Bogert & Appice
1974 Live in Japan
1975 Blow by Blow
1975 UPP
1976 Wired
1977 Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live
1980 There and Back
1985 Flash
1989 Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop
1992 Frankie’s House
1993 Crazy Legs
1999 Who Else!
2001 You Had It Coming
2003 Jeff
2006 Live at BB Kings Blues Club
2007 Official Boot
2008 Live at Ronnie Scotts
2010 Emotion & Commotion

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