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Jeff Beck | The Fox 04.29.10

Jeff Beck is a guitar icon and it is a privilege to still have a chance to see him at the top of his game.

This is a great opportunity to see one of the legendary pioneers of rock guitar and the British invasion of the 60’s up close and personal – still kicking out amazing music after all these years. Jeff Beck is a guitar icon and it is a privilege to still have a chance to see him at the top of his game. 

Jeff Beck is a part of the legacy of the Yardbirds, alongside Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. Beck was one of the early ones to experiment with the use of distortion on the electric guitar. He combined different musical elements in a direction that evolved into the Jazz Fusion movement. His music is an energetic blend of rock, funk, soul, jazz and world music influences. By comparison to his contemporaries, Clapton followed a path that combined blues with rock guitar and pop music; while Page had a heavier sound and also borrowed from folk and finger picking techniques. Both Clapton and Page were able to achieve a level of commercial success and household notoriety that seemed to elude Beck, though he is considered by many to be very innovative and influential in the technical advancement of guitar playing and stretching beyond the definition of musical genres. His compositions can be elaborate in the harmony and time signature structures and his soloing explores far beyond pentatonic blues scales common at the time. He is a musician’s musician that has constantly strived to push the expression forward. My two favorite albums are the classics Blow by Blow (1975) and Wired (1976). Those are the recordings that still define his playing for me.

The thing that I really love about Jeff Beck’s playing is his utmost mastery of the guitar strings through his subtle technique of picking with his thumb and fingers. He has that quintessential Strat sound and uses the vibrato bar to create phrases that delve into notes you can’t find on the fret board; a finesse player through and through.

Beck always surrounds himself with the highest quality musicians to fill out the band. A recent broadcast on Channel 9 PBS showcased him with his current lineup: Jason Rebello is true virtuoso on keys and his bass player is the lovely and talented Rhonda Smith. On drums is the acclaimed songwriter and producer, Narada Michael Walden, who collaborated on some of Beck’s earlier work. It was a spectacular show with a wide range of styles and grooves.

Opening up the April 29th show is the phenomenal guitar player Gary Hoey. He has achieved some commercial success as an instrumental guitarist and has gotten some radio play for his remakes of a few classic rock favorites, such as “Hocus Pocus,” originally by the group Focus. He also has a series of three Christmas albums, all done on the electric guitar. Each year he does a fun series of shows for the holidays.

Hoey has impeccable chops and is a very technically impressive player. He grew up around the highly competitive 80’s guitar scene of Berklee College of Music in Boston, which pushed him to hone his skills to the highest level. Since then he has shared the stage with, and continues to collaborate with some of the great performers of our time.

This will be an amazing night of music and the Fox Theatre is the perfect setting to really enjoy the show. Come and get an earful, I’m sure you will leave smiling. | Derek Lauer

Jeff Beck with guest Gary Hoey | Thursday April 29 at The Fox Theatre
527 North Grand Blvd., St. Louis MO 63103, Phone: 314-534-1678 | 8:00 PM | Tickets: $40 - $50 All Ages  

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