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Emotion & Commotion
For his first studio album in seven years, Grammy-winning guitarist Jeff Beck returns with an eclectic mix of tracks that find the guitar virtuoso accompanied by a handpicked cast of talented musicians, as well as several ... more »
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For his first studio album in seven years, Grammy-winning guitarist Jeff Beck returns with an eclectic mix of tracks that find the guitar virtuoso accompanied by a handpicked cast of talented musicians, as well as several songs accompanied by a 64-piece orchestra. Rhino unleashes the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer s restless genius with EMOTION & COMMOTION.
Beck recorded EMOTION & COMMOTION late last year at Sarm Studios in London with award-winning producers Steve Lipson and Trevor Horn. To create the album s diverse sound, Beck used a number of musicians, including appearances by frequent collaborators Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Jason Rebello (keyboards), and Tal Wilkenfeld (bass). The album also includes contributions from a trio of singers: Imelda May ('Lilac Wine'), Olivia Safe ('Elegy For Dunkirk'), and Grammy-winner Joss Stone ('I Put A Spell On You' and 'There s No Other Me').
To complement the innovative tones he coaxes from his guitar, Beck recorded with a 64-piece orchestra on songs that range from Puccini s immortal aria 'Nessun Dorma' and Elegy For Dunkirk from the film Atonement to 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' from The Wizard Of Oz and Jeff Buckley s interpretation of 'Corpus Christi Carol.'
Beck says the idea of pairing his guitar with an orchestra evolved from the version of Gustav Mahler s Symphony No. 5 he recorded a few years ago. 'It turned out amazingly well, but I didn t want to commit to an entire album of classical music. What appealed to me instead was the idea of bringing together these seemingly contradictory sounds on different kinds of nonclassical music.'
In addition to the orchestral pieces, EMOTION & COMMOTION showcases a number of original compositions. For 'Hammerhead,' Beck fires the rocker s opening salvo through his wah-wah pedal before falling into a deep groove carved out by the rhythm section and horn arrangement. At the opposite end of the sonic spectrum, the airy arrangement that elevates 'Never Alone' provides a wide-angle soundscape for Beck s imagination to freely explore the high-flying melody.
Before launching a world tour to support EMOTION & COMMOTION, Beck will unite with Eric Clapton in February for a series of exclusive shows in London, New York City, Toronto, and Montreal. The guitarists both former members of the Yardbirds will play separately before taking the stage to perform together.
After the shows with Clapton, Beck will play South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, and Japan before returning to America for the U.S. leg of the tour starting mid-April and including an appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival on May 1.
For Beck, the new album and tour follows in the wake of a triumphant 2009 his most successful year ever. Among the many highlights were a sold-out world tour; his second induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; the release of the platinum-selling Performing This Week... Live At Ronnie Scott s, which earned a Grammy nomination for 'A Day In The Life'; and magnificent performances with his band at the 25th Anniversary Concert of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden.
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Satchmo | Kansas City, KS | 04/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Emotion and Commotion" is Jeff Beck's much-anticipated new release. Clocking in at just about 40 minutes, there is no wasted space on the disc. I will not go through track by track, as the other reviewers have done a nice job summarizing each song. Basically on this album, Beck leaves behind the high-powered techno and electronica flavors of his previous albums "Jeff," "You Had It Coming" and "Who Else" and goes for a more laid-back, worldly groove of classic rock fusion with classical undertones. Besides his amazing tone, these songs are wonderful. The covers are arranged well and tastefully done. Anyone who can transition from the beautiful "Somewhere over the Rainbow" to Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" and back to Jeff Buckley's "Lilac Wine" and make it cohesive within the album is doing something right. The Beck originals, "Hammerhead" and "Serene" are also well-written.
I recently started listening to Jeff Beck a couple years ago. I admit that I am a newcomer to his music. As a guitar player, I cannot even begin to comprehend Beck's tone and virtuoso skills. I am blown away by what he is able to achieve on his instrument. This album is highly recommended to 1)Any Jeff Beck fan (obviously), 2)Anyone who plays the guitar and wants to understand what is capable on the instrument, 3)Anyone who wants to explore creative and exciting new music, produced by one of the most criminally under-rated musicians of our time. Hope this helps!"
The Peerless Jeff Beck's Most Diverse And Tender CD !
Brien Comerford | Glenview, Illinois United States | 04/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MONUMENTAL HIGHLIGHTS "Elegy For Dunkirk","Corpus Christi Carol","Hammerhead", " Somewhere Over The Rainbow","Nessum Dorma (the guitar parts)"
"Emotion and Commotion" is Jeff Beck's newest studio album in the aftermath of his gloriously frenetic Jeff CD (2003). This CD is another classic but it's far different than all his previous releases. An Orchesta and three female vocalists play major roles and the CD embraces classical, opera, new age and cinematic genres in addition to Beck's awesome rock, blues and jazz fusion forte.
The opening track is a marvellous interpretation of "Corpus Christi Carol" that features Beck playing sustained single notes that swoop and soar with the stirring hurt of a human voice. The ensuing "Hammerhead" is laden with Beck's arsenal including wah wah pedal, whammy bar dynamics, brawny riffs and knifing solos. Song three is the virtuosic "Never Alone" which has a new age sound that is audibly assuaging. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" is a major highlight as the guitar weeps and laments with a visceral tone that only Jeff Beck can coax and caress. Joss Stone energetically sings "I Put A Spell On You" accompanied by some stellar funk and blues chops delivered by Beck.
"Serene" is a pastoral and bucolic instrumental that further demonstrates Beck's eclecticism and it's bolstered by great bass playing and atmospheric soundscapes. Next is "Lilac Wine" sung by Irish phenom Imelda May. It's a nice song that imbues the album with some torch and pure jazz. It transitions into the poignant, edgy and ravishing "Nessun Dorma" that fuses Beck's fretboard prowess with the rousing sounds of the orchesta. ("Nessun Dorma" has been an incredible live performance at Jeff Beck's 2010 US concerts without the orchestra.) Joss Stone returns to sing "There's No Other Me", but the star is Beck who delivers some explosive and psychedelic sounds.
The emotive and stunning "Elegy For Dunkirk" closes the album. Beck's riffs and notes are replete with heartrending pathos that ascend to astounding beauty as Olivia Safe's wordless but angelic vocals help to compel the listener to be awed by the grandeur of a song that is almost on a par with the inimitably transcendent "Where Were You."
Note: The Japanese CD has an adroitly austere and melancholic instrumental song "Cry Me A River in addition to the captivating "Poor Boy" that is sung by Imelda May.
Jeff Beck is not a great writer or composer and he's indebted to people like George Martin, John McLaughlin and Tony Hymas who have inspired him. However, no other guitarist can create and generate such a plethora of otherworldy, sensitive and blistering sounds and tones with bare fingers and very few effects. Jeff Beck's a nonpareil guitarist who is invariably revered by his axeman peers ranging from the late Les Paul to Joe Satriani.
Where is the "Commotion"?
Brian K. Miller | Pennsylvania | 04/20/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"(Keep in mind that this reviewer is only a few years younger than the master, himself!)
First off, let me start by saying that I am a huge Jeff Beck fan, but my affection is not clouded by blind adoration. After waiting 7 years to get something new from one of the best rock/electric guitarists on the planet, this album leaves me severely wanting.
First, the obligatory compliments: Jeff plays with a depth of sensitivity that very few others in this genre can aspire to. His technique is simply jaw-dropping amazing. He dynamically bends and twists notes so that they flow more like those of a bowed, rather than a plucked instrument. This gives a lyrical quality to his playing that is nearly vocal in effect. And, as always, his tone is immediately recognizable. Jeff, as usual, uses his vast talent and tool box of skills very effectively on several of the tunes here, focusing on emotional content rather than technical pyrotechnics to communicate with his audience.
This "sparse" approach is, however, this album's greatest weakness since the majority of the songs here are really laid back, mellow, and, ultimately, forgettable. There are a couple of upbeat tracks in the mix between the likes of "Over the Rainbow" and "Serene" where he could have dug in and really boogied. Unfortunately, just as he gets to the point where our ears expect to hear Jeff turn on the after-burner he pulls back. Instead of a "kick a@@" pit bull on guitar we get a polite poodle.
Two tracks in particular follow this trend. "I Put a Spell on You" is an un-inspired and altogether un-original vocal and instrumental arrangement. This is a classic, bluesy song that has the potential to rip out your guts if done with real passion. Unfortunately, it just doesn't come together for me. Jeff's lead barely breaks a sweat and builds no tension and release in the listener. Odd that it is so emotionally flat on an album intended to squeeze as much feeling as possible out of a song.
The second song, "There's No Other Me", ends with Jeff playing a rocking finish but it fades out to silence just when he really starts to get aggressive and musically interesting. Another couple of minutes of guitar soloing would have made the song much more memorable. Yawn!
Lets face it, at just over 40 odd minutes there is plenty of room left to hold more. Why he close to trim even the best tracks to only 3 or 4 minutes is hard to understand. Surely Jeff, at this point in his career, can't be worried about getting top 30 air play (or maybe he is!). If more of these tunes had been developed into full-fledged, soul satisfying masterpieces, this might have been another Grammy nominee for him and a winner for his listeners.
Bottom line is that if you are a fan, then you, of course, must own this album. Otherwise, pick-up any of the many other Jeff Beck albums if you want to really hear why he is so highly praised. When I'm in the mood for some really great guitar music I'll be choosing one of his older albums while "Emotion and Commotion" probably collects dust.