Joe Beck and Laura Theodore: What More Can A Woman Do?
What More Can A Woman Do?
Golden Earrings (Whaling City Sound WHCT 49)
Recorded: Bloomingdale, NJ 2006-2007
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Golden Earrings was Joe Beck’s final recording, as he had succumbed to lung cancer in 2008. His absence from the jazz universe is sorely felt. Beck’s innovative approach helped to expand the sonic boundaries of jazz guitar, as evidenced in the wet, rich, and slightly percussive tone of his guitar work on stellar dates with a wide spectrum of artists — from jazz pillars like Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra and Buddy Rich to singer-songwriters such as Paul Simon and Laura Nyro. In this unique, satisfying tribute to the songwriting team of Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour, he joins forces with chanteuse supérieur Laura Theodore and the result is a fine farewell, indeed.
Joe Beck was a master of the hybrid alto guitar (featured on other cuts from this album), which allowed him greater harmonic range while covering the functions of the bass. But here the Martin CF-1 also works well within the context of this guitar/vocal duo, sounding almost as rich as a fat archtop. On this track Beck’s sparing use of studio enhancement only emphasizes the lush substitutions which give his Martin an orchestral feel, actually serving to underscore the ballad’s intimacy. His lines are confident, authoritative, and well-situated between reference chords as he solos without really needing any other accompaniment. Laura Theodore’s sultry voice and relaxed phrasing fit snugly with the spontaneity of Beck’s guitar throughout the piece and do justice to Peggy Lee’s poignant, ultra cool ballad.
Reviewer: Bill Barnes