Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jazzobit: Joe Beck

Joe Beck, session jazz guitarist, has died.

Splitting his career between farming and music, Beck worked with an impressive line-up of artists, including Gloria Gaynor, Miles Davis, James Brown and Frank Sinatra. He told George Cole in an interview for The Last Miles how he'd got into playing:

I was around five or six I found a banjo in the attic in my house and I started fiddling around with that and I was able to figure out to play a chord or two and have fun. Then I heard [Spanish classical guitarist Andres] Segovia on the radio - my mother was a classical singer and piano teacher - and I just flipped. I had never heard anything that and I said: 'that's what I want to do.' I guess I was around six or seven at that point. That Christmas I badgered my parents into me getting a guitar and we didn't have a lot of money, so they got me a guitar from Sears Roebuck, which was a catalogue store back in those days. It was a $9.95 purchase, but it lasted me for years!

He was still playing live gigs as recently as December 2007; the 62 year-old he had been fighting lung cancer.