Jeff Beck: Love Is Green
Love Is Green
Jeff Beck (electric and acoustic guitars)
Wired (Epic EK 33849)
Jeff Beck (electric and acoustic guitars),
Narada Michael Walden (piano), Wilbur Bascomb (bass).
Composed by Narada Michael Walden.
Recorded: London, England and Hollywood, CA, 1976
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
In this download age, the 5- to 10-sentence album reviews that appear in music magazines and on music web sites are of little help. I hope those of you reading this review have noticed by now that we jazz.com reviewers write about individual cuts and not entire albums. No one else does that. We believe this policy gives our readers a far better chance to delve into the underlying aspects of what makes great jazz great. We look at each performance with a laser beam. The Jazz.com review model is a far superior method save one aspect. We don't always see the forest. But not to worry – the wise among us will point out the trees.
A truly good album is more than a series of downloadable tunes. Technology is changing our listening habits drastically. But I still believe that an album should be listened to as a complete work of art. Plucking tunes out of context ignores the craft and value of song positioning. This is especially true for instrumental music. I have my own pet peeves about how most modern CDs have way too much music on them. (That will be a blog topic someday). But the pure act of setting time aside to listen to an album intently can be so much more rewarding than cherry-picking only the tunes you like. I grant you, sometimes that may be necessary. But juxtaposition is underrated.
I would grade "Love Is Green" about an 83 on the jazz.com scale if it appeared in the middle of Jeff Beck's mostly frenetic fusion classic Wired. It is a beautiful and brief cosmic ballad written by Mahavishnu II drummer Michael Walden, who effectively plays piano on the piece. Through the use of overdubs, Beck plays the sensitive melody on electric and acoustic guitars. It is a real treat to hear him unamplified. It is a lovely piece. "Lovely fusion" does not have to be oxymoronic.
However, at some point Jeff Beck or a trusted partner decided "Love Is Green" ought to be the final cut on the album. This was a brilliant stroke. The song acts as the perfect cool-down of a vigorous workout. So I add 8 points to his rating for proper song placement. Now you see some of the trees.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky