One of the best guitarists I’ve ever heard is Jeff Beck. So, what? That’s like saying Mohamed Ali was a braggart. But the more I listen to Jeff Beck as I get older, the more amazed I am at what he knew about the instrument and music in general when we were younger.
A former Yardbird alumnus like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, Beck took a different trajectory early on. Although he played with other artists, at a time when bands were quite popular, he primarily flew solo, forging temporary partnerships instead of trying to meld as a “band.” His own “Jeff Beck Group” took different forms while it existed, featuring numerous well-respected but lesser-known artists than its “Supergroup” contemporaries. He was quick to embrace different styles of music–today, we’d refer to him as an “early adopter.” His recordings included classical, jazz and jazz fusion, long before it gained wide acceptance. Always able to showcase great talent, Beck has hosted luminaries as well as emerging artists throughout his life and career. Recent work features a young bassist, Tal Wilkenfield.
I discovered Charles Mingus in college. I used to host a Friday night Jazz show on an NPR affiliate at my school. Still fairly new to jazz, I had unfettered access to their vast Jazz collection, which opened doors to a whole new world of music to me.
Just for grins and giggles, here’s the original–Mr. Mingus performing his very own “Good-Bye Pork-Pie Hat.”