Jeff Beck with Stanley Clarke – Heavy Winds 1978 (Scorpio JB-781128k-290)

Heavy Winds 1978 (Scorpio JB-781128k-290)
slipcover (left) and front cover (right)

Jeff Beck’s notable temperament is the source for much of his creativity onstage.  It’s also the cause for his desire to expand his musical vocabulary and expression with other artists.  The Jeff Beck Group is one such project, which was followed by works with Tim Bogart, Carmine Appice, and most notably with Jan Hammer. 

But the project with Stanley Clarke stands out.  According to the Jeff Beck Fanzine, when Beck was recording Blow By Blow he “was really into Stanley Clarke’s music. When he toured to promote Blow By Blow, he performed Clarke’s song Power in concert. Clarke heard about this and was knocked out by it. When Beck was around the area he dropped by his Long Island home and introduced himself. The two immediately began a friendship and Beck ended up playing on a few of his records.”

This tour of Japan and a tour of Europe in 1979 would be their only live appearances.

Clarke’s reputation among bass players is similar to Becks among guitarists.  He’s known for his creativity, innovation and expanding  the instrument’s use in musical composition and performance attaining star status as a solo artist.  He was the first bass player to tour solo and each provides a fascinating foil for the other. 

Some suggest that Clarke’s efforts live were obscured by Beck, but that’s not exactly true.  Most of the set is dominated by Beck’s numbers, but there are a fair number of Clarke’s songs which allow him to display his talent.  Hearing them compliment (not dueling against) one another is a treat as well since Beck had never had such a lyrical bassist before.

Heavy Winds 1978 is one of the better packaged titles Scorpio produced.  The four discs are packaged in a fatboy with a slipcover and a miniature reproduction of the tour program.  It’s not only a great effort by Scorpio, but it’s good to see the effort made for Jeff Beck and Stanley Clarke.  

Shinnittetsu Yahata-Taiikukan, Kokura, Japan – November 28th, 1978

Disc 1 (34:50):  Darkness / Earth In Search Of A Sun, Star Cycle, Freeway Jam, Cat Moves, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Bass Solo / School Days

Disc 2 (47:53):  Journey To Love, Lopsy Lu, Diamond Dust, Scatterbrain, Rock’n Roll Jelly, Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Blue Wind

November 28th was the only show on the tour in the city of Kokura.  Scorpio uses a fair to good audience recording.  While it is clear, there is noticeable distance from the stage and a loud echo surrounding the music.  The audience are very quiet and respectful, however, and the taper is able to capture the atmosphere of the performance perfectly.  A previous release can be found on Pyrotechnical Genius (Masterport 012) which is out of print and very hard to find.

They begin with a snippet of “Darkness / Earth In Search Of A Sun,” a song from Jan Hammer’s 1975 LP  The First Seven Daysand used as the first number on his tours with Beck the previous couple of years.  It is a familiar opening to anyone who attended his tours in the mid-seventies, and it segues right into the new and unfamiliar song “Star Cycle,” another Hammer tune.

Another interesting unreleased song is “Cat Moves.”  Yet another Hammer penned song, it wouldn’t be released until 1981 on the Cozy Powell solo album Tilt.  But the middle portion of the show focuses upon Clarke’s music.  He plays a melodic bass solo which segues into his famous melody “School Days.”  Beck does a wonderful job in interpreting the melody.

The latter half of the show contains the long “Scatterbrain” with drum solo, and the show ends with the beautiful Charles Mingus cover “‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” segueing into an out-of-tune “Blue Wind.”  The music inspires deep attention and appreciation by the Kokura audience, who give the performances and appropriate ovation at the end. 

Koseinenkin-Kaikan, Osaka, Japan – November 29th, 1978

Disc 3 (34:50):  Darkness / Earth In Search Of A Sun, Star Cycle, Freeway Jam, Cat Moves, Bass Solo / School Days, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Disc 4 (47:53):  Journey To Love, Lopsy Lu, Diamond Dust, Scatterbrain, Rock’n Roll Jelly, Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Blue Wind

The November 29th is the second show in Osaka on the tour, following the first show on November 24th.  The tape is a bit closer to the stage than Kokura.  It’s slightly more clear and enjoyable.  It is complete except for a small cut 4:55 in “Lopsy Lu.”  A prior release is Osaka 1978 Day 2(Masterport 059), a CDR title released many years ago.  Heavy Winds 1978 seems to be the first silver pressing of the Osaka show.

It begins as the others, with “Darkness / Earth In Search Of A Sun” serving as a prelude to “Star Cycle.”  Beck seems to get lost in the end and forgets how to end the piece, but he actually greets the audience and introduces the new song under that name. 

“Freeway Jam” follows, and its glorious, freedom-inspiring melody serves as a nice foil to the preceeding song and Clarke plays a short, violent little solo in the jam. 

After “Cat Moves,” instead of playing “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” Clarke instead gets into his bass solo.  He begins the solo by playing a bit of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” at the beginning.  The Mingus cover is played after “School Days,” an unexplained change in the sequence.

The closing sequence of the show, “Scatterbrain” and “Rock N Roll Jelly,” is among the strongest from the tour, bringing the show to an intense end.  “Blue Wind” sounds closer to being in tune compared to the previous night and is a great way to end the show. 

Heavy Winds 1978 is, without a doubt, a great Jeff Beck and Stanley Clarke release worth having.  The production is up to Scorpio’s high standards.  And the sound quality, while not the greatest, is still good enough to enjoy these two rare shows. 

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