Joe Beck, Santi Debriano & Thierry Arpino, |
(Whaling City, 2007)
Joe Beck is a jazz guitarist in the old tradition. His work harkens back to Jim Hall and Barney Kessel, and he has played with all the greats, from Miles Davis to Stan Getz. On the pop side, he has worked with guys like Ritchie Havens and Paul Simon. Clearly, the man knows what he is doing.
He also knows his way around a standard. Most of the tunes on Tri07 are from the great American songbook. Beck takes on "But Beautiful," "Laura," "My Romance" and "Cry Me a River," among others. Much of his material may be rooted in the past but his playing is not. Beck, more than ably assisted by bassist Santi DiBriano and drummer Thierry Arpino, takes these tunes apart and reassembles them. He shows you the beauty in tunes you have either long taken for granted or long written off as hopelessly dated. "Alone Together," for example, becomes a nine-minute set of variations on the song's theme, filled with daring solos that never lose either their sense of adventure or their sense of melody.
Beck is not simply a reinterpreter of old songs, though. He takes John Coltrane's "Impressions" for a nice ride, and his own tunes, "A Little Blue" and "Dancing to San Xavier," are up to the rest of the material.
In all, Beck is a gifted jazz guitarist and Tri07 shows his talents off very well indeed.
Michael Scott Cain
4 August 2007