Brainstorm (no label)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – December 1st, 1978
Disc 1 (52:19): Intro., Darkness/Earth In Search Of A Sun, Star Cycle, Freeway Jam, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Cat Moves, Bass Solo/School Days, Journey To Love, Lopsy Lu, Diamond Dust
Disc 2 (36:19): Scatterbrain, Drum Solo/Scatterbrain (reprise), Rock ‘n’ Roll Jelly, Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Blue Wind, Superstition
Such is Jeff Beck’s endlessly restless and creative spirit that, when his energy was spent with Jan Hammer in the mid-seventies, he aligned himself with bassist Stanley Clarke. Joined by Tony Hymas on keyboards and Simon Phillips on drums, they played several dates in Japan in late 1978 and these shows rank among his best artistic achievements.
Brainstorm uses a good to very good audience recording of the December 1st show in Budokan. It isn’t the greatest sounding tape but is very enjoyable once the ears adjust to the fidelity. Scarecrow used this tape for Double-Faced (Scarecrow 087/088). There is a tape flip thirteen seconds into “Diamond Dust” but is otherwise complete including Beck’s song introductions throughout the night.
The introduction is the spook-laden “Darkness / Earth In Search Of A Sun” before Beck and the band come on stage with the breezy “Star Cycle.” This is one of the songs written by Hammer before breaking with Beck and it would appear on Beck’s 1980 LP There And Back. The catchy and melodic “Freeway Jam” continues the kinetic start of the set with more emphasis upon movement and journey. The Mingus cover “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” is followed by the Hammer original “Cat Moves.” It is a playful number which Beck himself never released. He instead plays on the song for Cozy Powell for his 1981 LP Tilt.
Stanley Clarke’s bass solo lasts for nine minutes before segueing to “School Days” and is followed by Clarke’s bittersweet “Journey To Love.” “Lopsy Lu” is one of the more progressive songs in the set. Sounding like a jazz/funk hybrid, Beck, Clarke and Hymas all take their turn in jamming and soloing in six minute trio.
“Scatterbrain” contains a four minute Simon Phillips drum solo and is followed by Clarke’s “Rock And Roll Jelly.” The track was released the previous year on I Wanna Play for You and Beck takes ownership of the performance early on with scorching improvisations over Clarke’s bass lines. The final song of the set is the excellent “Blue Wind,” perhaps the most effective song to come out of Beck’s collaboration with Jan Hammer.
There is almost two full minutes of cheering by the audience before the only encore, Beck’s arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” Brainstorm is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with several photos from the tour in a very attractive layout. There have been several releases the past couple of years documenting this tour and this is a very good addition to that list.