Legendary British guitarist Jeff Beck returns with his latest album! Full of the same rock and roll bombast of his past solo albums but with added participation from several up and coming vocalists to balance out the shredding, it is nonetheless Beck’s album. With his mastery of the guitar, how could it not be? While Beck is respected and well-known among musos for his guitar work, his relatively low public profile has long puzzled many fans, who recognize Beck’s vast accomplishments and innovative techniques but puzzle over his career choices.
Rarely do artists come along with fully-formed personalities, having boundless talent, their own sound and a complete vision of who they are, what they want to do, and how to present their talent to whoever they think is their target audience. An artist like Prince comes to mind in this respect, and though there has to be others, his is the obvious name one would recall as embodying this type of artist. While Lee does not have the hard funk sound Prince has long since settled into, Lee does compare to Prince in many ways. For one, Lee seems to have a vision for his sound. Mixing jazz, prog, and rock the same way Prince mixes soul and rock, Lee has fashioned a hybrid that no one could call totally original, but one Lee is able to use and manipulate to fashion his own sound. As Prince is able to take the R&B of James Brown and the guitar stylings of Jimi Hendrix and add a little of his own personality and come up with something new yet familiar, Lee is able to take his influences, throw a little of his own sensibilities in there and come up with something unique yet still recognizable. While not groundbreaking, Lee’s talents are quite formidable and his mastery of stringed instruments of all types and well as keyboards and percussion show Lee to be a musical prodigy capable of doing anything he wants in the music world. Also like Prince, Lee has found his own sound. Most likely due to Lee being a self-taught musician (also like Prince) Lee has his own idiosyncrasies and his own way of achieving his sound which makes it his own. He is also able to own it, not in the same way Prince flamboyantly owns his persona, but one can sense Lee’s comfort within himself as his confidence permeates the CD but doesn’t engulf it. This is a musician who labored over this album until everything was right, and once you listen, you’ll know that Lee knew it.