David Rokeach - drummer
REVIEWS - David Rokeach, Drums

Jazz Inside Magazine May Issue: Review of "Get Me Joe Beck"
By Scott Yanow

One of the top guitarists of all time, Joe Beck was a master of subtle creativity. He had the knack for not only making every note count but every sound. It was not so much what he played as how he played it. He could play the same chord or single note several different ways depending on how it fit the song or how he felt during that moment.

Joe Beck, who was born in 1945, started playing the guitar when he was six after hearing Segovia perform on the radio. He was self-taught other than six guitar lessons. At 14 he was already playing professionally and he led his first trio immediately after graduating high school. Beck soon became a busy studio musician despite still being a teenager, not only as a guitarist but as a composer, arranger and conductor. He worked with Gil Evans, recorded with Miles Davis, spent a period outside of music and in 1975 recorded the popular album Beck And Sanborn with David Sanborn. Beck played in a countless number of sessions during the 1970s and '80s. Among the many jazz greats who he worked or recorded with were Herbie Hancock, Buddy Rich, Paul Desmond, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Blue Mitchell, Gene Ammons, Houston Person, Joe Farrell, Gato Barbieri, and Michael Brecker.

After a second period off the scene, he returned to music in 1991, dedicated to playing more jazz and doing much less studio work. Beck, who invented the alto guitar and was a master of electronics, often worked in a duet with alto flutist Ali Ryerson, accompanied singers who he enjoyed, and led a trio. Joe Beck passed away shortly before his 63rd birthday in 2008 from lung cancer.

The previously unreleased music on Get Me Joe Beck is the guitarist's final recording, a live performance from 2006. For this set, Beck kept the electronics to a minimum and simply played the jazz music he loved. With superior backing and interplay provided by bassist Peter Barshay and drummer David Rokeach, Beck is in the spotlight throughout eight standards; he is also heard talking briefly during a few spots between songs.

In most cases, Beck lovingly caresses the melodies before creating improvisations that keep the melody in mind. No matter how many times one has heard such songs as "Stella By Starlight," "Alone Together," "I Can't Get Started" and "Corcovado," in each case the guitarist brings something extra and new to the pieces, playing with such expertise and understanding that the songs sound fresh and alive. "You And The Night And The Music" is preceded by a brief version of John Lewis' "Skating In Central Park" while "Georgia On My Mind" is heard a second time as an edited version for the radio.