Photographer Lisa Johnson has just put out 108 Rock Star Guitars from Glitterati Publishing. While there have been many photo books centering on guitars, her book is something completely different: for one, these aren’t just any six stringed instruments, but the favorite axes of some of the legendary guitarists in all of rock. Johnson traveled all around the globe for a chance to snap these hallowed instruments. But, the most unique aspect of her book is the way she captures them – instead of the whole instrument, she might zoom in on only a portion of the guitar – maybe a well-worn pickguard, or a banged-up neck. it’s known as macrophotography. The result of these high definition prints is that you feel like you can reach out and touch these rare pieces – a real treat for any avid guitar fan.
Jeff Beck – Live and Exclusive from the Grammy Museum (Atco) – CD review –
Then mention of Jeff Beck’s name usually conjures up images of the pioneering pyrotechnics that he forged with the Yardbirds or his own Jeff Beck Group of the late Sixties, or the spacey jazz-fusion of Blow By Blow of the mid Seventies, but the guitarist is capable of so much more. Although, he’s never sold as many records as the man he replaced in the Yardbirds (Eric Clapton), he’s shown over the years that he probably has a wider range of style than Mr. Slowhand.
Live and Exclusive from the Grammy Museum finds Beck accompanied by bass, drums and keyboards in an intimate setting. Half of the album’s eight tracks are from Beck’s latest studio offering, Emotion and Commotion, and many show off the gentle aspect of his playing. Particularly good is the tasteful cover of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” which begins delicately, and transforms into a spacey middle, before ending with a familiar single note. “Over the Rainbow” has been covered literally hundreds of times, yet Beck adds enough finesse and grace to make it his own. He reprises his stunning Les Paul tribute “How High the Moon,” first performed on this year’s Grammy’s, complete with what sounds like the original vocal track from Paul’s former wife, Mary Ford.
Don’t worry, there’s still several songs where the guitarist turns up the heat, as in the wah-wah infused “Hammerhead” or the back-to-basics “Brush With the Blues.” The album closes with the closest Beck ever got to a hit, “People Get Ready,” which he transforms into a Sunday morning church meeting. The set also comes with a bonus DVD of the performance. One highlight is getting to see Rhonda Smith tear is up on the bass. Live and Exclusive From the Grammy Museum is a rare opportunity to hear a legend in a cozy setting. It’s an excellent addition to his catalog. — Tony Peters