july 2016

The Strat master says he wants to move past “guitar nerd” albums, but his latest effort is still brimming with chops, funky rhythms, and untouchable mystique.

Jeff Beck
Loud Hailer
Atco Records

One of the more frustrating aspects of carrying around the genius gene is how unpredictable and fleeting it can be. In Jeff Beck’s case, that gene has moved from raw, savage blues-rock to fusion and, as 1999’s Who Else proved, even a bit of electronica. With Loud Hailer, Beck is less worried about crossing something off his stylistic bucket list and more interested in the sound and feeling of being part of a band.

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Rudolph on his Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra: “I want their inner voices to shine through and to challenge them in some way to reach beyond themselves.” Photo by Scott Friedlander

A composer’s 11-axe orchestra sets Nels Cline, Liberty Ellman, and other top improvisers free to conjure a prismatic universe of sound on a unique new album, Turning Towards the Light.

Some guitarists are loners. They prefer to play solo or to be their band’s only guitarist—and that’s cool. But not all guitarists think that way. Some need a partner in crime and prefer playing in a two-guitar band. Some guitarists want even more, and their bands boast three guitars. Think Lynyrd Skynyrd. And sometimes—like at celebrity jams and tributes—even more guitarists crowd the stage.

But how about 11?

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