All I could say when I first heard this Jeff Beck/Tal Wilkenfeld guitar performance was Ohhhh! over and over again. I was stunned and speechless. Beck is almost outplayed by the young Australian guitarist, Tal Wilkenfeld, who performs a poignant bass solo of subtlety and tenderness. Together they are simply sublime.
The song is Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers by Stevie Wonder, and Jeff and Tal are playing at Ronnie Scott’s in 2007. I love the proud little look Tal shoots at Beck after her solo, as if to say “Top that!” Jeff Beck has always been Jimmy Page’s arch rival as the best guitarist in the world. I have always voted for Jimmy, but when I listen to this, I’m not sure.
There are so many Jeff Beck versions of this song, all of them totally different, and one is with Eric Clapton on bass. Clapton is such a good guitarist, and he plays the bass part totally differently: loudly, passionately, with a proud Spanish twist, great, but not such a wide range of emotions as the Tal version. His interpretation is here. Guitarist Doyle Bramhall is also magnificent. I love how he stands there quietly and unobtrusively, but when he plays his bit of the solo, his playing sounds more truthful than any of them.
This is a sexual, raunchy, version by Jeff Beck alone, heavy on the bass, which is wildly enthralling. Jeff Beck really socks it to the audience with this one, as he grins exuberantly at the pounding bass. I love the first, understated version best though. It is so beautiful. OK, I have given you three versions to listen to, and you must listen to them all.
UPDATE: OMIGOD! Here is an amazing fourth version of the song, featuring Jeff and Tal, performing live in Osaka in 2009. More bluesie, with more funk. Un-believable.