Blow by Blow [Remastered]by Jeff Beck
Blow by Blow typifies Jeff Beck's wonderfully unpredictable career. Released in 1975, Beck's fifth effort as a leader and first instrumental album was a marked departure from its more rock-based predecessors. Only composer/keyboardist Max Middleton returned from Beck's previous lineups. To Beck's credit, Blow by Blow features a tremendous supporting cast. Middleton's tasteful use of the Fender Rhodes, clavinet, and analog synthesizers leaves a soulful imprint. Drummer Richard Bailey is in equal measure supportive and propulsive as he deftly combines elements of jazz and funk with contemporary mixed meters. Much of the album's success is also attributable to the excellent material, which includes Middleton's two originals and two collaborations with Beck, a clever arrangement of Lennon and McCartney's "She's a Woman," and two originals by Stevie Wonder. George Martin's ingenious production and string arrangements rival his greatest work. Beck's versatile soloing and diverse tones are clearly the album's focus, and he proves to be an adept rhythm player. Blow by Blow is balanced by open-ended jamming and crisp ensemble interaction as it sidesteps the bombast that sank much of the jazz-rock fusion of the period. One of the album's unique qualities is the sense of fun that permeates the performances. On the opening "You Know What I Mean," Beck's stinging, blues-based soloing is full of imaginative shapes and daring leaps. On "Air Blower," elaborate layers of rhythm, duel lead, and solo guitars find their place in the mix. Propelled by the galvanic rhythm section, Beck slashes his way into "Scatterbrain," where a dizzying keyboard and guitar line leads to more energetic soloing from Beck and Middleton. In Stevie Wonder's ballad "Cause We've Ended as Lovers," Beck variously coaxes and unleashes sighs and screams from his guitar in an aching dedication to Roy Buchanan. Middleton's aptly titled "Freeway Jam" best exemplifies the album's loose and fun-loving qualities, with Beck again riding high atop the rhythm section's wave. As with "Scatterbrain," Martin's impeccable string arrangements enhance the subtle harmonic shades of the closing "Diamond Dust." Blow by Blow signaled a new creative peak for Beck, and it proved to be a difficult act to follow. It is a testament to the power of effective collaboration and, given the circumstances, Beck clearly rose to the occasion. In addition to being a personal milestone, Blow by Blow ranks as one of the premiere recordings in the canon of instrumental rock music.
- Release Date:
- Sony Japan
Performance CreditsJeff Beck Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar
Phil Chen Bass
Max Middleton Keyboards
Stevie Wonder Keyboards
Richard Bailey Percussion,Drums
Technical CreditsBruce Dickinson Reissue Producer
George Martin Arranger,Producer,Orchestral Arrangements
Denim Bridges Engineer
Bernie Holland Composer
John Berg Cover Art
John Collier Illustrations,Cover Art
Matt Resnicoff Liner Notes
Stephen Saper Engineer,Authoring
Mac Randall Liner Notes
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Fantastic,imagenitive,creative,fast and furious,beautiful,soulful and just pure craftmanship in the guitar playing. This album projects the virtuosity of one of the greatest hard rock guitarist of all time. The sensibility shows itself in every song. This album is a great contribution to music especially to the jazz fusion and hard rock movement because of the innovations in Beck's playing that many guitarist imitated or learned from.
Most of today's guitar gods like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Buckethead learned to play by listening to Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck. No one has ever blended jazz, rock, and blues into such masterful and complex instrumental compositions as this British master guitarist. This is one of his best albums with masterpieces like "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" (Stevie Wonder cover), "Scatterbrain", and "Freeway Jam" being a few of the highlights. This music is so brilliant and timeless that it could be released today and sound just as fresh and innovative. Unfortunately the radio has never played instrumental music, and rock has suffered at the hand of rap, hip-hop, and pop genres, or Jeff Beck would still be one of the top musicians in the world. Most of his best work has never been heard by a new generation who seem to only appreciate commercial vocal music and misogynistic rap songs, but one listen to this or any of his better albums will make it obvious who the original guitar god is.
You are probably not ready for this album. It is an essential recording, brimming with great musical ideas, terrific melodies, and fantastic, out of this world playing. The lack of any bonus tracks is hardly of consequence because of the high quality of the music on this CD. If you miss out on this (only) 35 year old album, your education is incomplete.