Jeff Beck
Blow by Blow


5.0
classic

Review

by temporary USER (14 Reviews)
December 26th, 2005 | 20 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist


Jazz fusion is a tough genre to pin down. It has never truly become a well recognized genre, nor does it have many artists playing its mix of rock and jazz. Miles Davis pioneered the genre, five years earlier to this album, with Bitches Brew. which easily pissed off many of his dedicated fans. But it was Jeff Beck who would truly define the genre, moving away from his former Rock and Blues based efforts, to this all instrumental album. It reigns as his greatest, and most famous achievement.

Beck is a guitarist like few others, his style is incredible, yet ever changing. His virtuoso skill easily outshines other great (and better known) guitarists, like Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page. Here he overdubs himself continually, often times have three separate guitar parts, all interwoven perfectly. But he owes much of the album to his band, as well as famed Beatles producer Sir George Martin. Max Middleton's tasteful use of the synth creates a perfect backdrop to Beck's flamboyant playing. Beck's rhythm section shines as well, with Richard Bailey's excellent drumming, keeping Jazz and Funk rhythms tied together with nice fills. Bass is none to shabby, either.

But there's also a certain sense of, well, fun to the whole album which is shown on the first track You Know What I Mean. Beck starts it off with light strumming, joined soon by drums and bass. The song explodes out, with an infectious synth/guitar line, and excellent soloing from Beck. The whole song gives off great groove, which will have the listener bobbing their head almost instantly. Next up, is an original rendition of McCartney's She's a Woman. Beck's lead guitar mimics the vocals uncannily. On Constipated Duck Beck continues the playful groove, with an incredible bassline holding the song together. Beck's soloing continues to astound the listener.

With Air Blower however, Beck allows Middleton to shine, crafting brilliant solos on his mini-moog. Three and a half minutes in though, there's a sudden slow in tempo, and Beck takes of on an incredible tone laden solo. Next, Bailey introduces the listener to the frantic Scatterbrain, one of my favorite songs on the album. All the members shine on this track, with excellent electric piano from Middleton, hectic drums, and of course brilliant guitar (I'm getting kind of tired of saying that every damn song on this album has unmatched guitar playing.) There's some excellent string arrangement from Martin on here, too.

But Scatterbrain gives way easily to my all time favorite Jeff Beck song, the haunting, beautiful ballad Cause We've Ended As Lovers (penned by Stevie Wonder, actually.) Beck's guitar work may not be his most technical, but coaxes wails and moans out of his guitar that few singers could hope to accomplish. As his playing intensifies, the listener is brought down a path of sheer emotions, stunning even the most cold hearted (especially the part from around 3:50 to 4:20, sure bliss.)

The next track, Thelonius features a host of guitars, each providing a brilliant part. Its a nice change to be listening to another "fun" Jeff Beck song, after enduring the passionate Cause We've Ended As Lovers.

Then comes another brilliant track, the groundbreaking Freeway Jam, which in many ways has defined Jazz Fusion. Beck's soloing is godly, and the songs main riff will be stuck in the listeners head for days one end. The bass playing is excellent as well, working perfectly with the drums to provide a foundation for Jeff to go nuts on.

The albums closer, Diamond Dust, is simply stunning, as well, with perfectly arranged strings. Beck's playing is as calm and as smooth as on Cause We've Ended As Lovers, and Middleton's piano works perfectly. Its a perfect track to end on, leaving a lasting emotional impression on the listener, which will be remembered for as long as music is played.

I may come off as a bit too praising on this review, but this is truly an album that needs to be heard. This is Beck's Sgt. Peppers or Kind of Blue. If you are any fan of Jazz, Rock, or just great guitar playing this is for you, heck if you enjoy listening to any kind of music this is for you.

Recommended Tracks:
Air Blower
Scatterbrain
Cause We've Ended As Lovers
Freeway Jam
Diamond Dust

Feedback is appreciated!



Recent reviews by this author
Patti Smith Trampin'Black Sabbath Master of Reality
Alice in Chains MTV UnpluggedCream Live At the Royal Albert Hall
Peter Gabriel SoIron Maiden Piece of Mind
user ratings (162)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
masada
December 26th 2005


2733 Comments


His best album.

I have it on vinyl. :cool:

Zebra
Moderator
December 26th 2005


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I agree this is his best album. 'Constipated Duck' is my favorite off here.

Nice review.

masada
December 26th 2005


2733 Comments


The live album that he did with the Jan Hammer Group is kind of boring, even though it does have "Freeway Jam" on it.

Beckola and Truth aren't nearly as good as this album.

BlackDeathMetalJazz or really ANYTHING else please-
December 26th 2005


200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've been waiting for someone to do this album forever! Amazing album from one of the greatest guitar players ever! Good review too. This Message Edited On 12.26.05

temporary
December 26th 2005


207 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The live album that he did with the Jan Hammer Group is kind of boring, even though it does have "Freeway Jam" on it.


Thats a shame, I was thinking of getting that.

stephankirstein
December 26th 2005


20 Comments


a far too unrecognized gem in all of music's history

masada
December 27th 2005


2733 Comments


[quote=Obi One Kenodi]Thats a shame, I was thinking of getting that.[/quote] It's worth getting if you can get it for a decent price, but otherwise I would probably stay away from it. That's just me, though.

I saw Jeff Beck play with B.B. King on Leno. :cool:

Hunter555
June 20th 2006


424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

THis guy got me into jazz.

Rocksta71
June 25th 2006


1023 Comments


Sounded his best with the Ybirds


Hunter555
July 2nd 2006


424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I need to check out the YBirds. Beck and Page sounds like the closest thing to God to me.

Jacaranda
July 2nd 2006


684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Cause We've Ended as Lovers" is a very beautiful song. He had his moments with the Yardbirds (Roger the Engineer) but I'd still take his solo stuff over them.

Krabsworth
July 12th 2006


31 Comments


This album is amazing. Jeff Beck has to be the most superb rock guitarist.

Hunter555
July 13th 2006


424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ Except that he's not rock, he's fusion^

KoraX
August 17th 2006


161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of the best albums of the best guiratist alive IMO. This guy just turns any genre he touches in some outstanding performance. His latest electronic work is exceptional too.
I recomand guitarists to check live videos of him on youtube or something.
Note that his drummer is playing a major role in the quality of his masic, and so does the bassist: the short solo on constipated duck is so well put.

Phil
September 7th 2006


1473 Comments


I got this today and wow. It is very replayable. Very good review. I need to get more of him.

MetalMassacreAttack
January 10th 2010


424 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This album is a fucking masterpiece

BloodshotMetal
November 23rd 2010


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

If playing guitar was a competition, Jeff Beck would win every time.

farglesnuff
March 1st 2012


241 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

So I picked this up on vinyl on a whim. Im glad I did.

MikeC26
June 5th 2012


3211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Such a chill album, full of classic playing!

mark7477
January 7th 2013


395 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not a bad album the first half is OK but second half is much better.Freeway Jam and cause we ended up as lovers are definitely recommended/favorites on here.I don't think this album is quite classic but has a great fusion of different styles of Jeff Beck's playing.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy