Jeff Beck with Stanley Clarke – Out Of Darkness (Wardour-040)

Out Of Darkness (Wardour-040)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – December 2nd, 1978

Disc 1 (35:11):  Darkness – Earth In Search Of  A Sun, Star Cycle, Freeway Jam, Cat Moves, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Stanley Clarke solo / School Days

Disc 2 (56:45):  Journey To Love, Lopsy Lu, Diamond Dust, Scatterbrain, Simon Phillips drum solo, Rock N Roll Jelly, Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Blue Wind, Superstition

Jeff Beck’s tour of Japan with Stanley Clarke was ten dates long and ended on December 2nd, 1978 in the Budokan.  Out Of Darknkess presents the same audience tape that was utilized for Lonesome Crow (Masterport 054) on CDR and on Explosion (Masterport 216).  This is a very good, slightly distant mono recording of the complete show.  There are several non-destructive cuts between song of the songs but nothing major.

The set is a good mixture of Beck songs, Clarke songs and long solo spots meant to showcase all of the talent onstage.  The sombre “Darkness / Earth In Search Of A Sun” is the introduction before the effective “Star Cycle” and a light, jazzy arrangement of  “Freeway Jam.”

After “Freeway Jam” they get into “Cat Moves.”  This tune replaced “Hot Rock” in the setlist after the November 24th show in Osaka.  It was written by Jan Hammer and wouldn’t be released by Beck but on  Cozy Powell’s LP Tilt in 1981 with Beck guesting.  

Stanley Clarke’s bass solo occupies several minutes of the set list and is an encyclopedia of styles and rhythms.  It segues into “School Days” with Beck as support by the end but the melody and improvisation all belong to Clarke.  “Journey To Love” from Clarke’s 1975 solo album is the only song in the set with a vocal melody.  The sci-fi lyrics of the studio recording are replaced by Beck scatting vocals, but otherwise it is an instrumental and it works much better.

Tony Hymas has a nice solo within “Diamond Dust” which Beck acknowledges and they all take turns in “Scatterbrain.”  Hymas has another solo, but it is most interesting to hear Beck and Clarke play a game of call and response.  Simon Phillips’ five minute drum solo serves as a coda to the piece.

Clarke plays several Beck-like riffs on the bass guitar as a prelude to the brilliant “Rock And Roll Jelly.”  The bass guitar / lead guitar continue their game of tag over the eight minutes of the piece.  An epic six minute rendition of “Blue Wind” closes the show.  Two minutes of audience applause are intact on the tape between that and the encore “Superstition.”  Beck pulls out his voice box for the Stevie Wonder cover which wasn’t played during the Jan Hammer years. 

Wardour released Out Of Darkness in August 2008 and is one of their better Jeff Beck releases.  It came out during a short phase where the labels were fascinated by Beck’s collaboration with Clarke and several great titles came out.  This one stands out for the enthusiasm the musicians have for the final show of the short Japan tour.  Wardour use glossy paper inserts for the artwork with tour photographs and is worth having.  

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