by: Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group

Jan Hammer's uncanny ability to simulate the pitch-bending qualities of an electric guitar on his Minimoog synthesizer made him an explosive duet partner with rock's Jeff Beck on this live album -- the third of Beck's successful flirtations with jazz-rock. While leaning toward the Mahavishnu Orchestra brand of jazz-rock, with the word "rock" heavily emphasized, this is a looser, less lockstepped variant. The song selection is split almost equally between Hammer and Beck's repertoires, with Hammer's remake of his techno/mechanized "Darkness/Earth In Search of a Sun" making the biggest splash. Beck is a marvel, his stinging guitar darting in and out from everywhere like a hit-and-run guerrilla fighter, and Hammer matches him blow by blow, so to speak, with his purer yet equally agile tone quality on shootouts like "Full Moon Boogie." Hammer is a terrible vocalist, but that indulgence fortunately is limited to one track; Beck himself only vocalizes through a gauzy electronic filter on a reggae-like treatment of the Beatles' "She's a Woman." Though the jazz-rock idiom seemed almost spent by the time this was released, Hammer and Beck happily pretended not to notice. ~ Richard S. Ginell

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