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This review is from: Performing This Week - Live At Ronnie Scott'S [BLU-RAY DVD]  (Blu-ray)
It is hard to avoid hyperbole with this issue. Quite apart from the world-class musicianship (if these four were athletes they would all win gold medals) it is unusually refreshing to hear the humility in the interview with Beck. While it may be a little odd to address this aspect first please bear in mind that Jeff Beck has been possibly the most understated guitar "god" of his era, but on many counts one of the greatest. Yet he has also been remarkable by his recorded (or interviewed) absence. Not that you would know that from listening to his interview on this disc which is in equal measure, articulate, humorous, humble, candid, illuminating and to the point about himself, his band members and his guests. Don't you get sick of interminable, completely unmemorable interviews with egocentric rock stars? Not this man - hear about the stage fright (nerves!! from Jeff Beck??); the difficulties of transferring guitar sounds which really need to be played very loud to get the right effect in a small auditorium (if you play you'll know what I mean); the genesis of the band; and you will come away enlightened and also up-lifted by the ordinariness of this extraordinarily talented man. And the music! Well you may have heard all the melodies on his CDs but (apart from the man himself) not played like this. His technique is sublime, not least his tapping and, super-octave bottle-neck work and that of his band equally so. Hard to single out a band member with all this talent on offer but Tal Winkelfeld has the class to be a diminutive female re-incarnation of the great Jaco Pastorius - prodigiously accomplished, as highlighted in the Stevie Wonder song, "Cause We've Ended As Lovers".
In a world where small talents get lost on their own ego trips (eg some young American guitarists) it is so good to have this sort of under-stated quality. It is remarkable that we can be privileged to participate in events such as these through DVD recordings. Sadly, I was too late to go to one of the Ronnie Scott concerts but this DVD is a consolation. The Beck band is stupendous and his guests broaden the mix, not least the stupendous Imogen Heap.
Last note, Eric Clapton, who generously joined in for a couple of blues numbers. This guy gets a bit of lip in these columns, probably because he has been very astute in marketing himself in recent years (and good luck to him) and possibly because he is not as technically good as some of his peers (in particular Jeff Beck). However, and let's not forget this, he was the one to start it all, he played a big part in introducing the blues to Western listeners, he has written the broadest range of great songs after (possibly) Lennon / McCartney, and his timing is the best. OK, he does repeat riffs a lot, but give him some space for God's sake, he deserves it.
This DVD is essential for any lover of guitar, jazz, fusion, rock and will give hours on hours of pleasure. I have already played it through 3 times (and that's a first) and it may well stay in the Blu-ray player for some weeks!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Apr 2009 11:21:07 BDT
I totally agree with your comments about JB's humility as displayed in the interview content of the dvd. It makes him all the more likeable - the man is a national treasure dammit!
Don't take my comments about Eric Clapton too seriously - he is also a national treasure, but nowadays I find JB's playing to be more cutting edge (for want of a better description). I am of the same vintage as both players in terms of age, and have followed EC's career from the Yardbirds / Bluesbreakers days. I remember seeing Cream play live in smoky Newcastle clubs, packed to the gunnels with bodies, EC making time stand still. Absolute respect and affection to him too. In some ways, the JB at Ronnie Scotts concerts are reminiscent of the days when big name bands would play smaller venues to deeply appreciative audiences - that's partly what makes the dvd so special.
In reply to an earlier post on 17 May 2009 13:11:52 BDT
We are same generation, possibly age! Understand your comments about EC. I have seen him play 3 times, none of which were greatly memorable and sadly never in the Cream days. The first and last of the three were in small venues - the Pavilion in Bournemouth as Derek and the Dominoes, where it was quite hard to tell who was doing what, and in a 300 capacity village hall in Surrey a couple of years ago, where he turned up to back Gary Brooker. These were vastly superior to the middle occasion, which was at Earls Court. The point here, as you say, is that the difference between stadium and club venues is chalk and cheese. I don't imagine I'll ever go to one of the really big ones again and now the development threat seems to have been lifted from the club venues (who were dropping like flies a couple of years ago) I hope that our "treasures" will continue to play them. They certainly seem to enjoy it more if my observations are anything to go by. The main problem is that the really big names don't broadcast their intentions so there is an element of guesswork and luck in catching them in these venues. Meanwhile, thank goodness for DVDs and clubs like Ronnie's.
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Sep 2009 17:47:01 BDT
Following on from our truncated discussion of Eric Clapton, I recommend Live From Madison Square Garden - the reunion concert of Eric and Steve Winwood on CD Live from Madison Square Garden. It is just fabulous. Not exactly a small venue, in fact my only complaint is: why did they choose New York for this historic reunion concert of two of this country's greatest performers? If you haven't got it yet, it's an absolute "must have" for your collection.
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