Release Date: May 19, 2015
Record label: Rhino
Genre(s): Jazz, Blues, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Blues-Rock, Album Rock, Hard Rock, Rock & Roll, Fusion, Guitar Virtuoso, British Blues
The "+" in the title of Live+ refers to the two studio recordings tacked onto the end of this 2015 live set: a tense, cloistered original called "Tribal," where Jeff Beck spits out squalls of noise over thundering primal drums; and a cover of "My Tiled White Floor," a wash of electronic soul with vocals by Veronica Bellino that feels constructed out of faded memories of Prince. They're nice additions that wouldn't have quite suited 2010's Emotion & Commotion, nor do they quite feel of a piece with the rest of Live+, all recorded on tour in August 2014. Supported by a collection of tight pros -- bassist Rhonda Smith, drummer Jonathan Joseph, guitarist Nicolas Meier, and vocalist Jimmy Hall -- Beck isn't so much interested in resurrecting specific songs from his career as he is in revisiting particular styles and moods, waxing lyrical on "A Change Is Gonna Come" and "Danny Boy," venturing into thick sheets of distortion on "Big Block," transforming the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" into instrumental fusion, and ending with a set of hard blues.
As a pop musician, Jeff Beck has always seemed to suffer from being labeled a musician’s musician. Often listed third in the triumvirate of legendary guitarists that passed through the Yardbirds, Beck has ultimately proven far more stylistically innovative and relevant than either Clapton or Page, but given the commercial success achieved by these two post-Yardbirds they ultimately end up with the lion’s share of the accolades and credit for launching the wild aspirations of countless wannabe guitar heroes. That Beck isn’t often mentioned in the same breath is certainly borderline criminal, he hasn’t necessarily made it easy for the general listening public to latch onto him in the same way Clapton did through Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos and solo or Page through Led Zeppelin.