Jeff Beck: Emotion & Commotion

Jeff Beck: Emotion & Commotion
There are few living guitarists that are as legendary as Jeff Beck. He was ranked 14th in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. He has been inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame twice, once as a member of the Yardbirds and in 2009 as a solo artist. He has received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance five times. His latest album, Emotion & Commotion is the follow up to the 2003 Grammy Award winning Jeff.
Like Jeff, Emotion & Commotion is mostly instrumental. There are sporadic guest vocal appearance on the album. The guest vocalists include Jess Stone, Imelda May, and Olivia Safe. Joss Stone has an excellent vocal performance on a cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins‘ classic “I Put a Spell On You”. In general adding vocals gives the album a much different than Jeff. It breaks up the monotony that all instrumental albums can breed.
Emotion & Commotion differs from Jeff in song writing as well. While Jeff explored genres like jazz fusion and electronica, Emotion & Commotion sticks to mainly two genres: rock and classical. On the album, Beck employs a 64 piece orchestra. The orchestra comes in handy to make lush arrangements for tracks like Beck’s cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Corpus Christi Carol”.
The album does have a couple of duds. Beck’s track with Imelda May “Lilac Wine” creeps along at a snail’s pace. While the track has some lofty angelic qualities, it’s just too slow to be enjoyable. The unaptly titled “Serene” has a cheesy Muzak sound to it that seems suitable for when you are put on hold by the cable company.
Besides those few duds, the album holds up remarkably well. The album is well arranged and Beck’s guitar playing is as honed as ever. Although I doubt it will be hailed as Beck’s greatest solo album, the album is a definite resume builder for a man who already has quite an impressive resume.
Rating: 7.7/10
Stream: Jeff Beck “Hammerhead”
Buy: iTunes


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