Jeff Beck's Emotion And Commotion CD Review - by J. Blake

Posted on 4/13/2010 by J. Blake

(New York, NY)

There are rock guitar players, jazz guitar players, classical guitar players, blues guitar players and then there is Jeff Beck. Though his roots may be firmly planted in the blues and his solo career mostly revolving around the worlds of jazz-fusion and progressive rock, Jeff Beck is a guitarist that continues to choose not to limit himself to any one genre; and his latest release, EMOTION AND COMMOTION, is a prime example of that.

Coming off of a stint of concert dates alongside fellow guitar legend Eric Clapton and in the midst of an international solo tour, Beck’s first studio effort in 7 years hits stores today (April 13th). EMOTION AND COMMOTION (for the most part) finds the aging guitar-god forgoing the frenzied and confrontational playing-style that he has become known for and instead focusing on tastefully executed melodies.

It is actually a difficult album to review, because it explores so much musical ground; and one can’t help but think that perhaps that is exactly what it is for Beck…an exploration. With a song list that consists of signature-Beck jazz-funk grooves (like “Hammerhead”), smooth bossa nova rhythms (like “Never Alone”) and covers that vary in style from Harlod Arlen and Yip Harburg’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” (featuring Joss Stone) and classical pieces like Benjamin Britten’s “Corpus Christi Carol” and Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma”, categorizing EMOTION AND COMMOTION is no easy feat.

What is for certain is that the album, though it may not be for everyone, is an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable 40 minutes of music. Much of the material is ‘low key’ and soothing, but the Beck that listeners have come to expect is not completely absent. Many of the tracks find Beck playing alongside a 64-piece orchestra, voicing the classical arrangements with his 6 strings, while other tracks find their voices with a little help from Joss Stone, Imelda May and Olivia Safe. As mentioned earlier, the tone of this album varies, but as much of it is mixed in a way that one track carries into the next, it plays almost like a concept album; a string of cohesive thoughts.

Jeff Beck has never been one to strive for chart success in the music industry. For over 40 years as a recording artist, he has managed to stay true to himself and his artistic vision and because of that, his music has, at times, not found a large audience. EMOTION AND COMMOTION may require the listener to keep an open mind, but it is a fascinating installment into the discography of a master-craftsman; that is executed with a great deal of maturity, poise and grace.

As for blues fans, they may not find what they are looking for with this album, but then again what is the blues really? According to Beck, from a recent interview with Alice Cooper, “When I hear some opera singers…they’re belting out blues, I mean they’re just screaming blues really; a sophisticated form of it.” The album may not be saturated with12-bar chord progressions, but it is full of soul and emotion...and maybe even a little bit of commotion. Perhaps Jeff Beck is showing us that ‘blues’ is really just a state of mind. Maybe it is a musical term that needs redefining.

*If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy: Beck & Clapton Rock NYC!!!

Thanks and keep reading American Blues News!!!

Copyright © 2010 - J. Blake. All Rights Reserved

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