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Finger Painting

Joe Beck

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Album Review

Having been employed as a sideman by everyone from Miles Davis, Joe Farrell, and Gene Ammons to James Brown, Esther Phillips, and Gloria Gaynor, Joe Beck has an impressive résumé when it comes to supporting others. But his output as a leader has been erratic. The guitarist's own catalog is much smaller than it should be, and he hasn't lived up to his full potential as a soloist. One of the decent CDs that Beck recorded in the '90s was Finger Painting, a fusion/post-bop effort boasting Bill Evans (not the famous pianist) on tenor and soprano sax, Mark Egan on electric bass, and Danny Gottlieb on drums. Except for a bluesy interpretation of Gershwin's "Summertime," Beck sticks to his own compositions, which range from the funky, Wes Montgomery-ish "Blues Doctor" and the edgy "Red Eye" to the moody "Texas Ann" and the pensive "What Would I Do Without You?" Finger Painting, which Egan produced, isn't a gem, but it has enough going for it to make you wish that Beck had recorded as a leader more often over the years.

Biography

Born: 29 July 1945 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Studio and session guitarist Joe Beck was well known for hits when backing vocalist Esther Phillips on Kudu in the '70s, although his session credentials over the years also included the likes of Miles Davis, James Brown, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, and Gil Evans. During the '80s he made a series of competent fusion and pop-jazz recordings for DMP and had a big hit recording with Dave Sanborn on CTI in 1975. His career continued into the '90s and beyond with albums like 1991's Relaxin', 1997's Alto,...
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Finger Painting, Joe Beck
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