Gordon Beck

Greetings and welcome to the Gordon Beck web site!! This web site was created on April 22, 1998. This page is dedicated to British jazz musician and pianist Gordon Beck. Here you will find an extensive Discography along with a Videography and a list of Radio Broadcasts that Gordon has appeared on. Below you will find a brief biography that I have written that will give you an overview of Gordon's musical career. Please enjoy your visit and feel free to send me an e-mail by filling out the form at the bottom of this page if you have any information about Gordon's music.

British Jazz pianist, composer and Art of Life Records recording artist Gordon Beck passed away on November 6th, 2011. Gordon's musical genius will be missed as he was one of the last of the great British Jazz legends the likes of which we will never see again on this earth. Art of Life Records offers its deepest sympathies to Gordon's family and to his many fans worldwide. Gordon may no longer be with us but his musical legacy lives on in the dozens of recordings that he made as a leader in addition to the hundreds of recordings he appeared on as a sideman. Rest in peace my dear friend. ~ Paul G. Kohler (Webmaster)

The Gordon Beck Trio
"Appleby Blues"

Recorded live at the Appleby Jazz Festival in Cumbria, England on Sunday July 31, 2005, this 75 minute live recording features British Jazz piano legend Gordon Beck in a trio setting which includes Jeremy Brown on acoustic bass and Tony Levin on drums. The trio performs several Jazz standards including Miles Davis's composition "Solar", Nat Adderley's "The Old Country" in addition to the familiar standards "Gone with the Wind" and "California Here I Come". Also included are three of Gordon Beck's original compositions: "With a Heart In My Song" (which originally appeared on the recording of the same name with guitarist Allan Holdsworth in 1988), "For P.J.", Gordon's tribute to British pianist Pete Jacobson making its' recording debut and the title track, "Appleby Blues", written specifically for the Appleby Jazz Festival also making its' recording debut. All tracks have been digitally recorded, mixed and mastered using 24-bit digital technology. The CD can be ordered online through Art of Life Records in the United States. To order your copy please visit the Art of Life Records web site or click on the image above.

The Gordon Beck Quartet
"Seven Steps To Heaven"

Recorded live at the Franc Pinot Jazz Club in Paris, France on February 25th & 26th, 2005. This 62 minute live recording captures British Jazz piano legend Gordon Beck at the peak of his musical powers in a quartet setting featuring Bruno Rousselet on acoustic bass, Philippe Soirat on drums and special guest Pierrick Pedron on alto saxophone. The quartet performs many well-known standards by such composers as Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson and Miles Davis in addition to the song Backwards Bop by pianist Billy Childs. Also included is a solo piano version of Denny Zeitlin's Quiet Now performed and recorded in Gordon's home studio on May 15th, 2005. All tracks have been digitally mastered using 24-bit digital technology. The CD can be ordered online through Art of Life Records in the United States. To order your copy please visit the Art of Life Records web site or click on the image above.

Gordon Beck, Ron Mathewson, Daniel Humair
"Jazz Trio"

Originally recorded at Fontana Studios in Milan, Italy in January 1972 and subsequently released on the Italian Dire label on LP the same year. Art of Life Records is proud to make this long out-of-print recording available on CD for the first time ever! The 8-page CD booklet includes the original album cover artwork, photos and liner notes exactly as they appear on the original LP release. Recorded during a tour of Italy with Phil Woods, the European Rhythm Machine, consisting of Gordon Beck, Ron Mathewson and Daniel Humair, recorded this entire album in the course of one morning. The album features two long compositions, ?Suite No. 5?, composed by Gordon Beck and performed in three movements followed by the track, ?All In the Morning?, composed by Gordon Beck, Ron Mathewson and Daniel Humair and performed in two movements. All tracks have been digitally re-mastered using 24-bit digital technology. The CD can be ordered online through Art of Life Records in the United States. To order your copy please visit the Art of Life Records web site or click on the image above.

The Tubby Hayes Quartet
"Commonwealth Blues"

The complete unedited and previously unreleased 1965 BBC transcription recordings.

Recorded in the summer of 1965 at Kensington Studios in London, England by the BBC and subsequently sent to Spanish radio stations as Radio Transcription discs to be broadcast only on Spanish radio in the late 1960's. These previously unreleased studio recordings feature pianist Gordon Beck, drummer Johnny Butts and bassist Jeff Clyne. The Tubby Hayes Quartet is presented in a series of four seperate programmes designed to showcase Tubby's unprecedented talents on tenor saxophone, flute and vibes. Each of the four programmes begins and ends with the theme, Tubby's Blues, a song later retitled by Tubby as Commonwealth Blues. Art of Life Records, along with the assistance of Gordon Beck, has obtained the exclusive licensing rights from the British Broadcasting Corporation to make these recordings commercially available for the first time!! The CD comes with a 16-page booklet containing 12-pages of detailed and insightful liner notes which includes a historical overview of Tubby Hayes' recording career as well as how this classic British Jazz recording came to be. A must have recording for all Tubby Hayes fans as well as fans of British Jazz!! All tracks have been digitally mastered using 24-bit digital technology. All 20 tracks are previously unreleased. The CD can be ordered online through Art of Life Records in the United States. To order your copy please visit the Art of Life Records web site or click on the image above.

The Gordon Beck Interview

This exclusive interview was conducted in May of 1999. Gordon was kind enough to take the time to answer fifteen questions submitted by some of his listeners. To read the interview please click on the link above.

About the artist...

Gordon James Beck was born in London, England on September 16, 1935 and passed away on November 6, 2011. Gordon was a self-taught musician who also studied classical piano for four years before deciding to become an aero-engineer and going to live in Canada. At the age of 24 he left the engineering world to become a professional musician and spent two months working in Monte Carlo with Tony Crombie where he met Tenor Saxophonist, Don Byas. Upon returning to England he joined the Vic Ash/Harry Klein Quartet before joining Tubby Hayes Quintet in 1962. During this time Gordon made his first appearance on record on the Tubby Hayes album, "Late Spot At Scott's", released on the Fontana record label. Gordon would later record two more albums with Tubby Hayes. He also worked with the Tony Kinsey Quintet and Annie Ross before forming his own trio. Gordon's trio was the house band at Ronnie Scott's Club in England in the late 1960's, and in 1967 Gordon began recording albums under his own name, the first of three albums for the Major Minor Records label entitled, "Dr. Dolittle Loves Jazz". During this time he also contributed to the soundtracks of several films, working with composers such as Lalo Schifrin, Benny Golson, and Gary McFarland. During the years 1969 through 1972 he was a member of the Phil Woods European Rhythm Machine. The European Rhythm Machine toured America in 1971, and Gordon left the following year to start another band, Gyroscope, and also reform his trio. The Gordon Beck Trio consisted of Gordon, Ron Mathewson, and Daniel Humair. The trio recorded an album titled, "All In The Morning", released in 1972 on Gordon's own record label, Jaguar Records. He was part of the group Piano Conclave in the early 1970's, in addition to recording with trumpeter Ian Carr's group Nucleus from 1972 through 1974. He became a busy session musician from 1974 on, working with major artists like Lena Horne, Gary Burton, Clark Terry, George Gruntz, Charles Tolliver and Phil Woods again. He also got involved in education, becoming co-organizer of the Treforest Summer School in 1978. During that same year Gordon began his association with JMS Records. Released in 1978, "The French Connection" was the first of many recordings that Gordon would record for JMS Records. On the 1979 JMS recording "Sunbird", Gordon began working with British guitarist Allan Holdsworth. The following year Gordon and Allan released "The Things You See", an album of piano and guitar duets. During that same year, Gordon, along with Ron Mathewson, Tony Oxley, Stan Sulzmann, and Kenny Wheeler recorded "Seven Steps To Evans", an album dedicated to one of Gordon's favorite pianists, Bill Evans. In 1982 Gordon recorded "The French Connection 2", the followup to his first JMS Records release. This was followed by a solo piano recording called "Reasons". Released in 1983, "Reasons" remains one of Gordon's strongest works to date. 1984 found Gordon collaborating with vocalist Helen Merrill on their duet album "No Tears, No Goodbyes" released on the Owl Record label. In addition to releasing "Celebration Suite", a live Quintet recording, again on the JMS label, Gordon also worked with violinist Didier Lockwood during 1985. Following more work with Helen Merrill in 1986 Gordon reunited with guitarist Allan Holdsworth once again to record "With A Heart In My Song" in 1988. Gordon would later contribute to several other Allan Holdsworth projects. 1995 saw the release of "One For The Road", an album of solo keyboards all played by Gordon released by JMS Records. In 1996 Gordon teamed up with Phil Woods again for a live concert of duets at the Wigmore Hall in London, England which, fortunately for the rest of us, was released as a two CD set on JMS Records entitled, "The Complete Concert". In 1997 Gordon released "Once Is Never Enough", on FMR Records. Gordon is joined by saxophonist Stan Sulzmann, bassist Chris Laurence, and drummer Paul Clarvis. In 1999 JMS Records released "November Song" featuring Gordon on piano & synthesizer, Gene Calderazzo on drums, Stan Sulzmann on tenor & soprano saxophones & flute, and Steve Watts on bass. Art of Life Records, a new independent Jazz record label based in the United States, has reissued The Gordon Beck Quartet's-"Experiments With Pops" recording on compact disc. Originally released in 1968 on Major Minor Records this recording features John McLaughlin, Jeff Clyne, and Tony Oxley. Be sure to order your copy of this Jazz classic from Art of Life Records today!! Also available from Art of Life Records is the Gordon Beck Trio-"Gyroscope" recording. Originally released in 1969 on Morgan Records in the U.K. this recording features Jeff Clyne and Tony Oxley. To order a copy of this CD please visit the Art of Life Records web site today.

A few words from musician Peter King.....

When I first started my career in ca 1957, I often worked with Gordon in local suburban clubs in London. Gordon was by far the best "semi pro" musician I ever worked with. I used to love the playing of Bud Powell. It was the deep emotional content that affected me most. Gordon, as well as having great originality, had a similar effect on me. He had so much beauty and depth to his playing. We became very close friends, sharing a similarly sensibility about music. Shortly after my first "big break" at the opening of Ronnie Scott's Club, I was asked to put in a quartet of my own. Not knowing many professional musicians who I could approach, I asked Gordon to do the gig, partly because I knew him well and partly because I loved his playing so much. I guess that was the start of Gordon's career and he soon had to turn professional. He went on to work with Tubby Hayes and continued his illustrious career from then on.

During those early days we had a couple of guys play in the band, who went on to gain big reputations: Dave Holland and Ginger Baker !!!

Gordon and I lost touch for many years but, I am glad to say we now enjoy a revival of our association. We recently did a tour with a project of mine with the "Lyric String Quartet" and we play together whenever we get the chance.

Peter King

This page was last updated on November 26, 2011.