GORDON BECK

Post Bop / Fusion / Vocal Jazz / Exotica / Avant-Garde Jazz • United Kingdom
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Beck was a self-taught musician who left the engineering world to become a professional player in England. He eventually blossomed into one of Europe's finest studio and session pianists, able to function effectively in many settings and alongside any vocalist or instrumentalist. His father was a violinist, and Beck started his jazz career with various London bands before joining Tubby Hayes in 1962. Beck stayed in that group three years, making his first tours outside England, before beginning his own band. Beck's trio was the house band at the Ronnie Scott's club in the late '60s, and in 1967 Beck began cutting albums and doing studio work. He gained international attention from 1969-1972 as part of Phil Woods' European Rhythm Machine, his strong playing and propulsive solos making him an effective contrasting voice within the group to Woods. The Machine toured America in 1971, and Beck left the following year read more...
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GORDON BECK Discography

GORDON BECK albums / top albums

GORDON BECK Dr Dolittle Loves Jazz album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dr Dolittle Loves Jazz
Post Bop 1967
GORDON BECK Half A Jazz Sixpence album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Half A Jazz Sixpence
Post Bop 1968
GORDON BECK Experiments with Pops album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Experiments with Pops
Exotica 1968
GORDON BECK Gyroscope album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gyroscope
Post Bop 1969
GORDON BECK Gordon Beck, Ron Mathewson, Daniel Humair : All In The Morning (aka Jazz Trio) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gordon Beck, Ron Mathewson, Daniel Humair : All In The Morning (aka Jazz Trio)
Post Bop 1972
GORDON BECK One For The Road album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
One For The Road
Post Bop 1977
GORDON BECK The French Connection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The French Connection
Post Bop 1978
GORDON BECK Sunbirds album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Sunbirds
Fusion 1979
GORDON BECK Conversation Piece - Part 1 & 2 (with Alan Holdsworth / Jeff Clyne / John Stevens) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Conversation Piece - Part 1 & 2 (with Alan Holdsworth / Jeff Clyne / John Stevens)
Avant-Garde Jazz 1980
GORDON BECK Seven Steps To Evans album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Seven Steps To Evans
Post Bop 1980
GORDON BECK The French Connection 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The French Connection 2
Post Bop 1982
GORDON BECK Reasons album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Reasons
Post Bop 1983
GORDON BECK Celebration album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Celebration
Fusion 1985
GORDON BECK Dreams album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dreams
Post Bop 1989
GORDON BECK For Evans Sake album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
For Evans Sake
Post Bop 1992
GORDON BECK Once Is Never Enough album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Once Is Never Enough
Post Bop 1996
GORDON BECK November Song album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
November Song
Post Bop 1999
GORDON BECK When Sunny Gets Blue : Spring '68 Sessions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
When Sunny Gets Blue : Spring '68 Sessions
Vocal Jazz 2018

GORDON BECK EPs & splits

GORDON BECK live albums

GORDON BECK One, Two, Three....Go album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
One, Two, Three....Go
Post Bop 1974
GORDON BECK Reflections album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Reflections
Post Bop 2003
GORDON BECK Not the Last Waltz album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Not the Last Waltz
Post Bop 2004
GORDON BECK Seven Steps to Heaven album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Seven Steps to Heaven
Post Bop 2005
GORDON BECK Appleby Blues album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Appleby Blues
Post Bop 2007
GORDON BECK Jubilation! Trios, Quartets And Septets In Session 1964-1984 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jubilation! Trios, Quartets And Septets In Session 1964-1984
Post Bop 2018

GORDON BECK demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

GORDON BECK re-issues & compilations

GORDON BECK The French Connection I & II album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The French Connection I & II
Post Bop 1995
GORDON BECK Reasons/Celebration Suite album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Reasons/Celebration Suite
Post Bop 1995

GORDON BECK singles (0)

GORDON BECK movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

GORDON BECK Reviews

GORDON BECK Celebration

Album · 1985 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
A fairly undocumented album in most jazz circles, this dates from 85 and features Gordon Beck with his Quintet, made from some 70’s London-scene stalwarts like Stan Sulzmann (sax) and Frank Ricotti (vibes), while the rhythm section is made of Hutton’s bass and Airguelles’ drum kit from the next generation of musicians. The album was recorded live at the Bracknell Festival in the summer of 84.

The 7-parts Celebration Suite is splattered all over the album’s length and feature a short but grandiose opening quickly dissolving in dissonance, a lengthy piano solo, and an even-shorter finale, reprising the opening theme. The four parts proper of Celebration are much more interesting, but the way they are written or cut, make it difficult to describe, but we’re definitely n the typical British 70’s jazz mould, where the piano plays a primordial role just like the rockier drumming (especially in Part II), but it’s on the compositional side that things really make a difference. Clearly the album’s centrepieces are the lengthier Part II and III, even if my preference goes for the former, although the latter is a bit more frenzied. As for the fourth part, it presents a more reflective and pensive side, with Sulzmann’s sax over-ruling Beck’s excellent piano.

Actually when listening to Celebration, it’s relatively hard to understand how this album is so overlooked (even absent from most guides and reference books), because I personally think it is one of Beck’s best works (with Sunbird a close second), if you’re into adventurous jazz. I believe that this album’s only CD reissue is part of a 2on1 album, from the French JMS label, coupled with the Reasons album. If you stumble on it, don’t hesitate a second

GORDON BECK Sunbirds

Album · 1979 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
Gordon returns in the summer of 79 with a quartet, featuring mainly guitarist extraordinaire and violinist ordinaire Allan Holdsworth, for a wild fusion album, where Beck also plays an excellent Rhodes throughout. Graced with a basic bicolour “poultry” artwork, you could be almost forgiven to pass it over in the racks, if you didn’t pick it out and look on the back sleeve. Had you done so and still pass up on it, you don’t deserve to read what’s coming.

Holdsworth’s acoustic guitar opens the quiet Gathering on delicate arpeggios before Beck’s acoustic piano steps in, drawing with him Clark’s pedestrian bass and Romano’s subdued drums along for a stroll that slowly develops into a frenzied climax, just before the slow ending. The 4-part almost 16-mins Flight suite sees a wide spectrum of moods, including some excellent fusion music where Allan alternates in the first movement between his lectric guitar and his lectric violin, while Gordon is out to challenge Chick’s rapid-fire piano, inciting Holdsworth to try to emulate McL via the DiMeola mould, before a Whitish-drum solo ends it. The second movement is much more adventurous (in the sensual sense of the word), veering slightly romantic with Beck’s delightful Rhodes ticklings. And it gets even more adventurous yet (this time in the experimental sense of the word) with the third slightly-dissonant movement while the awesome closing part sees a certain Alice-McCoy influence.

On the flipside, the slow Halfway House, where Allan bows at his violin strings setting the mood might seem a bit soporific at first, if it wasn’t for Gordon’s solemn piano solo, but it evolves in a semi-Ponty manner once Hodsworth comes back. Some quiet piano arpeggios open the Second Summer, before the group moves in and take it in a boppy direction.

Most of Beck’s post-60’s albums have been reissued on CD on the French JMS label (along with Holdsworth, Lockwood, Uzeb and Texier catalogues), but personally, I find that Sunbird is Gordon’s best (IMHO) and most involved (dare I say varied?) album still some thirty years after its release. So if you’re still around at this point in the review, you know what left for you to do: grab your fishing net and sail the web to catch it.

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