Saturday 1 March 2008

Gordon Beck - British Jazz Legend

Back in the mists of 1968, my jazz mad elder brother brought home an LP called Dr Dolittle Loves Jazz by Gordon Beck. Having recently seen the Rex Harrison movie, Dr Dolittle, I was intrigued to hear how Beck could transform Leslie Bricusse's jolly show tunes into frenetic Bill Evans style jazz.

London born self taught jazz pianist Gordon Beck was a member of the legendary Tubby Hayes Quintet in 1962. In the late 60's Beck formed his own trio, Gordon Beck + Two who became the house band at Ronnie Scott's Club.

In between contributing to several movie soundtracks and working with composers such as Lalo Schifrin, Benny Golson, and Gary McFarland, Beck recorded three albums for the Major Minor Records label Dr. Dolittle Loves Jazz, Half a Jazz Sixpence and Experiments with Pops - the latter featured John McLaughlin on guitar, which adds another dimension to Beck's distinctive style.

Each album displays Gordon Beck's virtuosity and flair along with his fluid and sometimes explosive piano style. If you are a fan of late 60's British modern jazz and want to hear a jazz 'joanna' legend, then slick your hair, slip on the shark skin suit and shades and give these albums some room in your world.


ghostrider said...

Hi Crispy..I'm a soundtrack and a jazz fan myself,so i can say that i love your blog which i only recently discovered! I wasn't familiar with Gordon Beck but my comments convinced me that i should give it a try..AWESOME!!!!!!!!! I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!! AMAZING PERFORMER!!!! One wonders how this guy is not well known compared to other pianists..I ha the impression that the late Roy Budd was one of the best British piano players around but after hearing mr Beck..I don't know..Anyway, just wanted to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!! OUTSTANDING POST!!!!!!!!

Crispy32 said...

Thanks for the nice words Ghostrider. Gordon Beck is most definitely one of the UK's great unsung Jazz heroes. I had the good fortune to speak to Gordon on the phone a few years back. He's a real character who still performs and likes a drink or two.