Jeff Beck - Performing This Week...Live At Ronnie Scott's
Eagle Records
Instrumental Guitar Based Jazz/Fusion/Rock
16 songs (70'13)
Release year: 2008
Eagle Records
Reviewed by Marty
Jeff Beck is truly one of the very best guitar players ever to hold the instrument. Although not as prominent a public figure as the likes of Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page, nonetheless he enjoys a very strong and loyal following who hold on with baited breath to every pinch harmonic, bend or volume swell that he coaxes out of his beloved Fender Stratocaster. First emerging on the scene in the mid 60's with the Yardbirds and then later with The Jeff Beck Group (featuring a newcomer by the name of Rod Stewart on vocals) he has been a huge influence on just about any guitar player who grew up in the 70's and 80's. As the 1970's progressed, he released 2 of the best instrumental guitar albums ever made with Blow By Blow and Wired before getting more into the jazz/fusion scene with his long-time collaboration with keyboardist Jan Hammer. Avoiding the public eye and turning down several offers by big name bands including the Rolling Stones, he's more at home in the small intimate club settings and this new CD sees him at his absolute best. Recorded over a series of 5 nights at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London, England in 2007, Performing This Week...sees Jeff Beck covering a wide variety of material; encompassing his entire career.

Along with tracks like Stevie Wonder's 'Cause We've Ended As Lovers from his Blow By Blow album, we get tracks from Wired including Led Boots and Goodbye Pork Pie Hat but Freeway Jam is a curious omission - one of his best songs ever! From the vaults, Jeff hauls out Beck's Bolero, a track written in 1966 by Jimmy Page while the two were members of the Yardbirds and later appeared on the Truth album by The Jeff Beck Group in the early 70's. Along with some of Jeff's work with Jan Hammer, we get tracks from Billy Cobham, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra as well as jazz/blues great Charlie Mingus. A stunning instrumental version of The Beatles A Day In The Life is truly jaw-dropping. Very few of the tracks were penned by Jeff himself; opting to lend his own personal interpretation of the music of others.

Entire volumes can be written about Jeff's playing style but his preciseness, amazing vibrato and bending techniques are quite simply unequalled. It's quite obvious to see where other guitar greats like David Gilmour got the inspiration for their amazing tone and vibrato. Jeff's guitar speaks to you unlike any other with his blissful, emotional style that includes atmospheric volume pedal work, ripping ascending scales and a vibrato/whammy bar style that is quite simply perfection in every sense of the word. His smooth style seems so effortless yet is pure joy to listen to especially if you are a guitar player yourself. The sound of this CD is absolutely perfect and Jeff's band for these shows consisted of Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Jason Rebello handling the keyboards and Tal Wilkenfeld on bass. Every note, tone is played to perfection with Jeff colouring each and every track with his guitar "voice"

Often very laid back in overall sound, Jeff lets rip in a few spots and overall, this is easily the best live recording of Jeff Beck that I have ever heard. Coming soon in DVD format, this performance is a must for fans of this guitar god. It serves as a perfect "snapshot" of just how unique a talent this man really is. It has often been said that if God played guitar, he would do it through the hands of Jeff Beck.....amen to that!!

Killing Songs :
Beck's Bolero, Cause We've Ended As Lovers, Led Boots, Space Boogie and A Day In The Life
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