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Addio a Jeff Beck

di Redazione Risonanze - mercoledì 11 gennaio 2023 - 1787 letture

"On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss".

Con questo breve trafiletto tratto dal sito dell’artista si è appresa la scomparsa di uno dei più innovativi e apprezzati chitarristi rock britannici.

Di seguito, nel pieno rispetto della richiesta da parte della sua famiglia, riportiamo le note biografiche della sua immensa carriera artistica che lo hanno visto suonare insieme ai più famosi interpreti del panorama musicale mondiale.

Biografia

Jeff Beck has never been shy about speaking his mind through his music. For more than 50 years, the Grammy- winning guitarist has expanded rock’s sonic vocabulary with an inventive style of playing that defies categorization.

With LOUD HAILER, Beck’s first new album in six years, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer shifts gears once again for an album packed with topical lyrics that touch upon his concerns about the future. Loud hailer — another name for a megaphone — is the perfect symbol for the 11 tracks.

“I really wanted to make a statement about some of the nasty things I see going on in the world — greed, lies, injustice — and I loved the idea of being at a rally and using this loud device to shout my point of view.”

To help him write LOUD HAILER, Beck enlisted two young women — guitarist Carmen Vandenberg and singer Rosie Bones. It was a chance meeting with Vandenberg last year at a birthday party for Queen drummer Roger Taylor that eventually led to the trio’s collaboration.

“She invited me to one of their shows, and I was blown away,” the guitarist recalls. “When we got together in January, I explained the subject matter I had in mind, we sat down by the fire with a crate of Prosecco and got right to it. The songs came together very quickly; five in three days.”

Beck recorded most of LOUD HAILER at home and produced it with Filippo Cimatti, who also works with Bones. In addition to the core trio, the album also features drummer Davide Sollazzi and bassist Giovanni Pallotti, who were both recruited by Cimatti.

The album’s roots, Beck explains, reach back to September 11, 2001. In particular, the plight of the “Jersey Girls,” four women who lost their husbands in the attacks and were instrumental in the creation of the 9/11 Commission.

“These women wanted answers, but were given none, which I found shocking and appalling,” the guitarist says. “I told Rosie about their fight to find the truth and she came up with ‘Ballad Of The Jersey Wives.’ That creative process repeated itself for most of the songs on the album. All credit to Rosie — she was able to bring these different ideas to life.”

Beck says he enjoyed his new role as lyrical director. “You can set the mood with an instrumental, but you can’t really tell a story. That’s not what you would expect to hear from someone who once remarked, ‘Good riddance to singers.’ But the truth is, I play better when I play off the lyrics in a song.”

A sense of outrage comes through loud and clear on the first single, “Live In The Dark,” as well as “Right Now,” which targets superficiality in pop culture. Beck adds: “I think Rosie says it all with the line, ‘Famously famous for nothing at all.’ Unfortunately, that’s where we are today.”

Anger may be the over-arching theme, but one of the album’s biggest strengths is its musical ebb and flow. Beck says: “It’s a careful balance of extremes that define the album: dark and light, heavy and tender.”

The mix ranges from the ethereal instrumental “Edna” and the country-tinged “Shrine,” to the greasy funk of “O.I.L.,” which includes a wicked slide solo played on a oil can guitar; a gift from ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons. But there are also several ballads, “Shame” (inspired by 1950s doo-wop) and “Scared For The Children,” in which Beck pays tribute to Jimi Hendrix with a moving solo. The guitarist adds: “I can’t help it; Jimi is forever in my blood.”

In many ways, Beck says LOUD HAILER is his most honest album. “Lyrically, I set the mood and subject matter. And musically, I used fewer electronic gadgets than ever before. It’s mostly just me playing through a Marshall head or a Fender Champ. What you hear on the album is what you’ll hear live in concert.”

This summer, Beck will co-headline a U.S. tour with one of his heroes, the legendary Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy. The joint tour begins in July — just a few days after the album’s released — and continues for most of the summer.

On August 10, Beck will make his Hollywood Bowl debut for a very special, career-spanning concert that celebrate 50 years of ‘dynamic music making.’ “Many years ago, a girlfriend took me there as a tourist. I remember standing on that stage and thinking, ‘One day I’ll play here.’ But I never got the chance until now.”

In addition to recording LOUD HAILER, Beck also wrote, BECK01 (Genesis Publications, jeffbeckbook.com). This signed, limited edition book explores Beck’s passions for hot rods and rock ’n’ roll. Hand-bound in leather and aluminum, the book features more than 400 rare and unpublished photos. Narrated by Beck, BECK01 is the definitive visual and historical record for this dynamic musician.

The trailblazing guitarist has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice. He entered as a member of the Yardbirds in 1992 and as a solo artist in 2009. Beck has earned a total of eight Grammy Awards — including one for his previous album Emotion and Commotion — and has recorded with everyone from Stevie Wonder and Buddy Guy to Tina Turner and Mick Jagger. He is widely regarded by his peers and fans as one of the greatest guitarists of all time thanks to his ability to make the impossible sound effortless.

He was born 24 June 1944

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Jeff Beck_gettyimages

By Mark Savage
 BBC Music Correspondent

Jeff Beck, one of the most influential rock guitarists of all time, has died at the age of 78.

The British musician rose to fame as part of the Yardbirds, where he replaced Eric Clapton, before forming the Jeff Beck group with Rod Stewart.

His tone, presence and, above all, volume redefined guitar music in the 1960s, and influenced movements like heavy metal, jazz-rock and even punk.

Beck’s death was confirmed on his official Twitter page.

"On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing," the statement said.

"After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss."

Speaking when he was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the second time in 2009, Beck - said: "I play the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest sounds possible."

"That’s the point now, isn’t it? I don’t care about the rules.

"In fact, if I don’t break the rules at least 10 times in every song, then I’m not doing my job properly."

Kiss bassist Gene Simmons was among those paying tribute, saying: "Heartbreaking news to report the late, great Jeff Back has sadly passed. No one played guitar like Jeff."

Paul Stanley, the frontman of Kiss, also called Beck "one of the all time guitar masters", adding: "From The Yardbirds and The Jeff Beck Group on, he blazed a trail impossible to follow. Play on now and forever."

Singer Paul Young added in a post on Twitter: "He was loved by everyone in the know; the guitarists’ guitarist!"

Born Geoffrey Arnold Beck in Wallington, Surrey, the musician fell in love with Rock and Roll as a child, and built his first guitar as a teenager.

"The guy next door said, ’I’ll build you a solid body guitar for five pounds’," he later told Rock Cellar Magazine. "Five pounds, which to me was 500 back then [so] I went ahead and did it [myself].

"The first one I built was in 1956, because Elvis was out, and everything that you heard about pop music was guitar. And then I got fascinated. I’m sure the same goes for lots of people."

After a short stint at Wimbledon Art College, he left to play with shock-rocker Screaming Lord Sutch and the Tridents.

When Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds in 1965, Jimmy Page suggested hiring Beck - and he went on to play on hits like I’m A Man and Shapes Of Things, where his pioneering use of feedback influenced musicians like Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix.

The Yardbirds, backstage at Top Of The Pops, in 1965 Image caption, The Yardbirds, backstage at Top Of The Pops, in 1965 "That [technique] came as an accident," he later told BBC Radio 2’s Johnnie Walker.

"We played larger venues, around about ’64-’65, and the PA was inadequate. So we cranked up the level and then found out that feedback would happen.

"I started using it because it was controllable - you could play tunes with it. I did this once at Staines Town Hall with the Yardbirds and afterwards, this guy says, ’You know that funny noise that wasn’t supposed to be there? I’d keep that in if I were you.’

"So I said, ’It was deliberate mate. Go away’."

Going instrumental The guitarist stayed with the Yardbirds for nearly two years, before declaring he was quitting music altogether and releasing his first solo single Hi Ho Silver Lining.

However, he quickly returned with the Jeff Beck Band, whose first two albums Truth (1968) and Beck-Ola (1969), took a ferocious approach to the blues that laid the groundwork for heavy metal.

But the band were unhappy - with a US tour regularly descending into arguments and physical fights.

Singer Rod Stewart and bassist Ronnie Wood quit in 1970 to join the Small Faces (later The Faces), and when Beck was injured in a car accident, he had to put his career on hold.

When he recovered, Beck assembled a second line-up of his band but their albums were commercially unsuccessful and Beck went solo in 1975.

That year, he recorded an album, Blow By Blow, with Beatles producer George Martin. Entirely instrumental, Beck’s lyrical, mellifluous guitar playing essentially replaced the parts of a lead vocalist, an approach he would take for most of the rest of his career.

Blow By Blow made the US top 10 and was awarded a platinum disc, and Beck quickly followed it up with 1976’s Wired (also produced by George Martin) and the 1997 concert album Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group Live.

After the tour documented on the album, the musician retired to his estate outside of London and remained quiet for three years.

"The pitch I play at is so intense that I just can’t do it every night," he later explained.

The 1980s saw him collaborate with Nile Rodgers on an album called Flash, which contained his first hit single - a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready with Rod Stewart on lead vocals - and earned him a Grammy Award.

In 1987, he played on Mick Jagger’s solo album Primitive Cool, and continued to work with artists like Roger Waters and Jon Bon Jovi in the 1990s, as well as contributing to Hans Zimmer’s score for the Tom Cruise movie Days Of Thunder.

But his solo output slowed down, until the release of 1999’s You Had It Coming, featuring Imogen Heap on vocals, followed in 2003 by an album he simply called Jeff.

Around this time, he started incorporating more electronic and hip-hop elements to his music; culminating in his fourth Grammy victory for the tempestuous, shape-shifting instrumental Plan B.

He toured extensively in the 2010s, including a joint-headline venture with Beach Boy Brian Wilson.

The duo had hoped to record together but those plans fell apart. Instead, Beck ended up befriending actor Johnny Depp, with whom he released a full-length album, 18, in 2022.

But the musician’s legacy lies in the balance between the fluidity and aggression of his playing, his technical brilliance equalled only by his love of ear-crunching dissonance.

"It’s like he’s saying, ’I’m Jeff Beck. I’m right here. And you can’t ignore me’." wrote Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers in an essay for Rolling Stone’s Greatest Guitar Players of All Time, where Beck placed seventh.

"Even in the Yardbirds, he had a tone that was melodic but in-your-face - bright, urgent and edgy, but sweet at the same time. You could tell he was a serious player, and he was going for it. He was not holding back."

"He’d just keep getting better and better," Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page once recalled. "And he leaves us, mere mortals".


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