By Jim Schutze
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There is no shortage of articles or opinions lauding the superb guitar playing skills of Jeff Beck. And deservedly so: He's part of what one might call the Divine Three (along with fellow guitar gods Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton). But Beck is the lone member of that league who never quite grasped the gold ring of wide commercial adoration.
After leaving an indelible mark on '60s British Invasion psychedelic rock with The Yardbirds on fuzz-addled songs like "Over Under Sideways Down," Beck set up shop as the solo artist he remains to this day. Tiring of vocal-driven rock songs (and probably vocalists, having unleashed Rod Stewart on the world), Beck set aside rock for jazz fusion and instrumental rock, the field he still plows today.
As Beck was assembling a new band for his most recent release Emotion and Commotion, which came out earlier this year, Dallas musician Earl Harvin was called in to play drums. Alas, differences with the production team led to Beck scrapping the session and starting over with new sidemen. Replacing Harvin is Beck's long-time collaborator Narada Michael Walden. Also gone is Tal Wilkenfeld, the young female bassist who pretty much stole the show from Beck at the Crossroads Guitar Festival a couple of years ago. She's replaced by Canadian Rhonda Smirth, and past touring keyboardist Jason Rebello.
While not as intimate as the Majestic Theater, where Beck played Dallas last, you still know that you're in for some of the best guitar playing on the planet if you catch him on Sunday at the spacious Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie.