Jeff Beck: Scatterbrain
Jeff Beck (guitar)
Blow by Blow (Epic EK 33409)
Jeff Beck (guitar),
Max Middleton (keyboards), Phil Chenn (bass), Richard Bailey (drums).
Composed by Jeff Beck & Max Middleton.
Recorded: London, England, 1975
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Jeff Beck's fusion sound didn't hit full groove until his Wired album came out a year after Blow by Blow. Notably, that coincides with his musical partnership with Jan Hammer. Not every jazz-rocker agrees with me, though. Many claim Blow to Blow has always been the superior effort. There are some great tunes on Blow by Blow, especially the beautiful "Cause We've Ended As Lovers," but not all the tunes are fusion. A portion of the album is clear funk and nothing else. That's okay. But it isn't fusion. Still, Blow by Blow is not an album that should be kicked out of bed. It is fantastic.
The jazz-blues-boogie oriented "Scatterbrain" remains in Beck's live repertoire to this day, and for good reason. The tune's driving nature allows Beck to do some real stretching out. Keyboardist Middleton and Beck double-up on the frantic intro. Beck then goes ballistic with cutting blues riffs. I still don't understand how he gets that sound without using a pick! The rhythm section keeps things flying. Beck demonstrates his mastery over harmonics. No one sounds like him. Middleton plays a straight-ahead electric piano as synthesized strings enter. The theme comes back, leading in turn to a short ending section that is clearly a tribute to John McLaughlin. Boy, those were the days.
Point of information: In 2002, Beck held a special three-night event at London's Royal Festival Hall. Each night he welcomed special surprise guests. On the third night he welcomed McLaughlin. They jammed on two tunes including "Scatterbrain."
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky