Saturday, June 6, 2009

DVD REVIEW - Jeff Beck: 'Performing This Week - Live at Ronnie Scotts'

Jeff Beck performing at the Crossroads Guitar ...Image via Wikipedia

DVD Review - Jeff Beck - 'Performing This Week - Live at Ronnie Scotts' by Greg Bahr

In late November, 2007, Jeff Beck performed a week long stint at London's famous Jazz club, Ronnie Scott's, a 250 seat capacity venue which provided an intimate setting for Beck's guitar mastery. The results are documented in this stunning DVD.

The camera frequently pans the audience and shows looks of amazement on the faces of the crowd, which includes famous rock luminaries Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Viewers will feel the same sense of awe watching this incredible display of virtuosic musicianship.

Beck is joined by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, a veteran of Frank Zappa's band, and keyboardist Jason Rebello, who toured with Sting. On bass is 22 year old female Australian wunderkind Tal Wilkenfeld, whose melodic style fits perfectly in Beck's mosaic of space age rock and jazz fusion.

"Beck's Bolero" starts things off, as Beck recreates the echo laced slide parts of this classic late-Sixties rock instrumental. The show then moves into jazz territory, with John McLaughlin's "Eternity's Breath" and Billy Cobham's "Stratus."

Jeff's mid-Seventies fusion period is well represented, with versions of "Led Boots," "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," "Space Boogie," and "Scatterbrain." Beck's trademark ballad, Stevie Wonder's "Cause We've Ended as Lovers," features a masterful bass solo by Wilkenfeld.

The band is joined by female singers Joss Stone, on "People Get Ready," and Imogene Heap, who performs her own composition, "Blanket," and Muddy Waters' "Rollin and Tumblin'." Eric Clapton weighs in with Muddy's "Little Brown Bird" and Willie Dixon's "You Need Love," two blues classics that were favorites of Eric and Jeff in their early guitar playing days.

Other highlights are the off-the-fretboard slide solo in "Angel (Footsteps)," and a show stopping instrumental version of the Beatles' epic, "A Day in the Life." Beck closes the show with a solo rendition of the heart wrenching ballad, "Where Were You."

"Performing This Week...Live at Ronnie Scott's" provides a front row ticket to witness the fretboard fireworks that illuminate the guitar genius of Jeff Beck.

Greg Bahr writes about the guitar and related topics. Read more at

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