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Jeff Beck, a unique star in our nights

Jeff Beck at Noches del Botánico 2018
Jorge Fuembuena
Photo:
Jeff Beck during his concert at Noches del Botánico 2018.
12/1/2023
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Juan Carlos Moreno

It would be practically impossible to understand the history of rock and electric guitar without the figure of Jeff Beck, who passed away last night at the age of 78, leaving an incalculable legacy for thousands of music lovers and lovers of the six strings. Beck's distinctive riffs have been present in hundreds of albums and singles of renowned bands and soloists, being also protagonists that June 28 where he became a unique star in Botanical Nights.

A concert to sum up a life

Jeff Beck, Vinnie Colaiuta, Rhonda Smith, Jimmy Hall and Vanessa Freebairn-Smith Photo: Jorge Fuembuena

The man who is considered the 5th best guitarist of all time, according to Rolling Stone, appeared on our stage accompanied by his inseparable Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Rhonda Smith on bass, Vanessa Freebairn-Smith on cello and Jimmy Hall on vocals. Of course, the legendary white Fender Stratocaster on his hands, scarf around his neck, fuzz activated and the starting signal with 'Pull It' to a journey that would take us through all of Beck's musical contributions to contemporary music.

Jeff Beck at Noches del Botánico 2018 Photo: Jorge Fuembuena

The 'Star Aligns Tour' set-list contained a small tribute to Hendrix and his legendary 'Little Wing'. Jimmy has always been a big influence on Beck, from the sound to the playing on the instrument. In fact, the Fender Stratocaster that the British guitarist used on Nights at the Botanical Gardens had an inverted headstock, very similar to the one popularized by Hendrix in the 1960's. Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition' was another of the standout covers Beck performed before landing on 'A Day in The Life'.

With this song by The Beatles, re-interpreted by the bluesman, we reached one of the most emotional moments of the night. Jeff deployed his mastery with vibrato and wah-wah to create an atmosphere out of the earthly, those that become magical when they merge with the spell of the Botanical Garden of the Complutense University of Madrid. The encores 'You Shook Me' and 'Going Down' put the finishing touch to a concert that also included songs with Beck's guitar stamp, such as 'Star Cycle', 'Big Block', 'Blue Wind' or 'Cause We've Ended as Lovers'.

A guitar revolutionary 

"Beck's appearances on other artists' albums may serve as an indicator of the level of regard he enjoys among other musicians. " Ralph Denyer

Few careers have been as complete as those of Jeff Beck, who started as a guitarist in The Yardbirds after the departure of Eric Clapton. The English band managed to have in its ranks three legends of the instrument such as Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. Both Beck and Page did coincide in what was one of the most experimental and psychedelic stages of the band before it began to break down and become the future Led Zeppelin

After his departure from The Yardbirds, he formed his own band (Jeff Beck Group) completed by Rod Stewart, Ronn Wood and Aynsley Dunbar. It was during this stage where Beck managed to position himself as one of the great rock interpreters of the moment. But if there is a year that marks the before and after in the career of the London musician is 1975, date in which "Blow by Blow" produced by George Martin is published. This album denotes Beck's openness towards jazz-rock and its fusion with elements of funk and soul. An album that bares that tone that walks between the Les Paul and the Stratocaster, but that incorporates novel effects such as the talk box. Unparalleled sound and aesthetics for a legendary guitarist.

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