- Jeff Beck -Performing This WeekLive At Ronnie Scotts
Last April Jeff Beck was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his solo work. While he never gained the widespread fame of his fellow Yardbirds alumni Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, his creative wanderlust and nearly-consistent high quality of output made him an ideal inductee. For those who arent already in Becks corner, theres no valid reason other than foreclosure for you not to own this. For anyone else, youre running out of excuses. The infamous jazz club, Ronnie Scotts, hosted five nights of the guitarist and his phenomenal band, including Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Tal Wilkenfeld on bass, and Jason Rebello on keyboards. This release chronicles the final evening of the run, and much of the spotlight rightly shines on the guitarist. In such an intimate venue one has the opportunity to carefully watch the magic elicited from Beck with little more than his thumb plucking at the strings, discrete use of a whammy bar, and sheer will.
As he explains during an illuminating interview session in one of far too few bonus features, Beck wanted to set up a performance that would highlight the musicianship onstage— check that as mission accomplished, as well as present a show with vocal contributions because he feared that too many instrumentals would bore the crowd. Huh?!?!? Over the span of the first ten numbers, Beck had nothing whatsoever to fear. Because of the tremendous quality of the playing and strong interpretations of compositions by John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Stevie Wonder, Charles Mingus, and the Beatles, not to mention his own originals, the guest appearances rate almost like excess window dressing. Joss Stone finds her inner Aretha with a dash of Mariah on People Get Ready, Eric Clapton has a grand time on Muddy Waters Little Brown Bird and Willie Dixons You Need Love, and Imogen Heap’s turn on Rollin and Tumblin matches Becks distinctiveness with a vocal style that acts as another instrument. Still, the added contributions arent enough to diminish the Main Man. As he makes stops in the blues, jazz fusion, ballads, and more, Beck justifies his artistic ambitions. For nearly two hours viewers receive a combination of sensitivity to melody and resourcefulness to ingenuity.