Press & Reviews:
The David Becker Tribune at Vitello’s - By Don Heckman:
The David Becker Tribune made a rare L.A. stop – their first in four years – Thursday night at Vitello’s. The group, led by Becker on guitar, with his brother Bruce Becker on drums and (for this performance) Jim Donica on bass, has been successfully establishing their unique, high intensity, electric version of contemporary jazz for more than two decades.
But their Vitello’s set had a more encompassing goal in mind. A few tunes – mostly Becker originals – provided plenty of opportunity for fast-paced ensemble work as well as some dynamic, high voltage soloing from each of the players. The heart of the program, however, was based upon the Tribune’s latest CD, Batavia.
Based upon his mother’s family’s World War II experiences in Indonesia, as well as a Japanese internment camp, the music embraced a gamut of emotional expressions. On some tunes, Becker interjected clangy sounds reminiscent of a gamelan orchestra by plucking his guitar strings close to the bridge. On others, the melodies were inspired by old black and white photos of his mother and her family in pre WW II years.
For this section of the performance, the Tribune players were joined by cellist Aniela Perry. Mostly playing low, held notes, Perry’s warm sound nonetheless added a rich, atmospheric quality to the music. But here, as elsewhere throughout the program, the highly combustible, powerfully interactive energies that are the at the heart of the Tribune’s music were the driving forces that kept this compelling music alive.
Woodrow Wilkins' review - BATAVIA:
Most artists put a lot of themselves into their work. Batavia(Acoustic Music Records, 2010), by the David Becker Tribune, is more deeply personal for the leader. The 13-song album chronicles the experiences of his mother’s family, Dutch nationals who endured captivity in Indonesia and Holland during World War II.
For most of the recording, Becker is accompanied by brother Bruce Becker on drums, and Bolle Diekmann on bass. An assortment of guests appears on selected tracks.
The title song’s haunting mood captivates from the opening phrases. Becker plays electric and acoustic guitars. Russell Ferrante of the Yellowjackets is on acoustic piano, and Aniela Perry sits in on cello. Bass and drums are effective with their subtle, yet engaging, touches. Inspired by the Dutch name given to the capital of Indonesia, “Batavia” was the first port of entry for his grandparents when they visited the nation. Becker’s lead is terrific, but the ensemble as a whole gives this an almost orchestral feel.
Another haunter is “Your New World,” a piece Becker wrote with the thought of his grandfather and his bride as they adjusted to their new environment. Matias Rubino joins the ensemble, playing the bandonian. Bass and drums are more engaging this time around.
“The Invasion” features the core trio of Becker, Becker and Diekmann. Although upbeat in tempo, it represents the capture of Becker’s mother and other relatives when the Japanese invaded Indonesia in 1942. The guitar is at times dissonant but always on the move. Diekmann really lets loose on the bass, adding an element of funk.
David Becker is a two-time Grammy-nominated recording artist. The David Becker Tribune has performed in 18 countries and has shared the stage with such luminaries as Miles Davis, Chick Corea and Michael Brecker.
The CD is accompanied by a 12-page booklet, which has photographs and brief explanations of the songs’ meanings.
BBC Review - 02/22/08 - LEAVING ARGENTINA:
“A jazz album with a hint of latin spice and a whole lot of warmth, skill and style.”
- Guy Hayden, BBC
Ohio born Becker mixes a regular recording career with touring and teaching guitar all over the world - always a sign that someone has both a real love of their instrument and a genuine talent for it, too. Another sign of someone's class is the level of talent that they have played with - in Becker's case this includes time with Miles Davis, Chick Corea and The Yellowjackets. Pretty good company.
READ ENTIRE ORIGINAL REVIEW >>>
Jazziz Review - LEAVING ARGENTINA:
“Becker once again distinguishes himself as a talent worthy of wider recognition on the strength of this potent, eclectic outing...”
- JAZZIZ MAGAZINEOn Leaving Argentina, veteran guitarist David Becker captures the rich ambiance of faraway places like Patagonia, Buenos Aires, Cordoba and La Plata as well as inspiring sights like the Andes mountains. “It’s basically a record that came about from going to Argentina a lot,” says the accomplished six-stringer and leader of the flexible and highly interactive trio Tribune. “I’ve been there five or six times in the last two years and just started writing a bunch of music that was inspired by being there.”
Accompanied by the flexible rhythm tandem of brother Bruce on drums and Bolle Diekmann on fretless electric bass and upright acoustic bass, Becker once again distinguishes himself as a talent worthy of wider recognition on the strength of this potent, eclectic outing, a followup to Tribune’s 2004 offering, Where’s Henning?
“This is actually sort of a jubilee for me and Bruce,” says the guitarist who shuttles back and forth between homes in Los Angeles and Wuppertal, Germany. “It’s the tenth album we’ve done together in 20 years. I think it has elements of almost everything that we’ve touched on over the years, and I think it’s a natural progression to where we’re at right now musically.”
Sessions for Leaving Argentina were held in three cities -- Wuppertal, North Hollywood and La Plata. Becker brings his inimitable warm tone, fluid linear concept and varied harmonic palette to bear on all the material here, further establishing his place in the post-Metheny guitar world. “I’ve always been a fan of the guitar trio,” he says. “And for me it’s about trying to make the trio have a high degree of interplay while also being able to get away from the standard jazz guitar trio sound. One of the things that I’m most proud of is that people often say it’s a bigger sound that we get. I think that has to do with the arrangements and particularly the musical relationship that Bruce and I have now going on more than 20 years.”
Indeed, the brothers Becker have forged an uncanny chemistry over that time and they are aided immeasurably on Leaving Argentina by the stellar German bassist Bolle Diekmann, who reveals a decided Jaco Pastorius influence on several numbers, including his lyrical fretless electric bass showcase, “Cordoba.” Says Tribune’s leader, “Bolle’s great. He’s definitely a big Jaco fan but he likes a lot of other bassists too. He’s one of the most musical guys I’ve ever played with, and one of the nicest too. I’ve known him for a long time. We’ve played together a great deal and he’s just a great addition to the trio. He fits in very well with what we’re all about. The musical thing that he likes definitely connects in some way with what Bruce and I like.”
Certain tunes on Leaving Argentina, like aggressively swinging, highly interactive trio numbers “Cafe Con Leche,” “Rio De La Plata” and the boppish uptempo burner “Racin’ Through The Andes,” may recall Pat Metheny’s groundbreakingBright Size Life (recorded in 1976 on ECM with kindred spirits Pastorius on bass and Bob Moses on drums). Other Becker originals like the driving opener “El Sueño De La Araña Roja,” the authentic tango number “It Takes Two” (with special guest bandoneon player Dario Polonara) and the dramatic Native American flavored “Patagonia” combine exotic world music elements with David’s own inherent jazziness for a wholly unique hybrid of styles.
Elsewhere on Leaving Argentina, the guitarist reveals his gentle side on the unaccompanied acoustic guitar number “Mentras Duermes (While You Sleep)” and also on the bittersweet ballad “Hard To Say Goodbye,” which is underscored by Bruce’s sensitive brushwork and Diekmann’s upright bass. “Cordoba” is a brilliant showcase for Diekmann’s fretless virtuosity while Becker’s other brother Ed makes his recording debut on the evocative title track, which was originally conceived as a duet between drums and guitar. The trio also turns in a poignant rendition of Keith Jarrett’s “Memories of Tomorrow” (perhaps the most requested tune from his landmark Koln Concert recording on ECM). And they strike a gently swinging accord on Becker’s sprightly “Waltz For Lavignia,” which the guitarist performs on his Martin acoustic.
“We had played most of these tunes on the road, so we had a chance to let them mature by performing them for audiences. So on our tour of Argentina we had a chance to gauge the response and really refine them a lot before going into the studio later to record them.”
Bridge Guitar Review - THE COLOR OF SOUND:
“All musicians get plenty of room to demonstrate their skills on their instruments... but David's jazz guitar just gives the music great diversity full of musical skills.
An album to discover and enjoy! ”
- Henk te Veldhuis, JAZZIZ MAGAZINEBorn in Ohio, USA, David Becker joined stage with artists like Miles Davis, Chick Corea and The Yellowyackets. He found a very good teacher in jazz guitar master Joe Diorio and played at many acclaimed guitar festivals.
David Becker now releases his tenth CD called in his career which last over 20 years. He teaches guitar worldwide on music schools and released a guitar book called “Getting Your Improving into Shape”.
“Leaving Argentina” is a Latin American musical adventure through many countries. On this CD David Becker is assisted by percussionist Bruce Becker, bassist Bolle Diekmann and bandoneon player Daria Polonara. This ensemble mixes well with the soft and warm guitar tones of Becker.
The 12 compositions on “Leaving Argentina” have vary varied setups and moods, which take one on a musical journey through divers cultures. The guitar techniques of David Becker show great musical phrasing and melody line building capabilities. All musicians get plenty of room to demonstrate their skills on their instruments, while the guitar is never too dominant, but David's jazz guitar just gives the music great diversity full of musical skills.
An album to discover and enjoy!
All About Jazz - THE COLOR OF SOUND:
“Becker and Diorio embark on a number of musical expeditions into different colors of sound and manage to create coherent, albeit abstract music that is a joy to listen to.”
- Budd Kopman, allaboutjazz.comDavid Becker’s previous release, Euroland, was a multitracked affair where Becker himself played all the instruments to produce a layered sound that evoked different images through music.
On The Color of Sound, Becker plays duos with his mentor, Joe Diorio. For the most part, they both play standard electric guitar, but Becker throws in some synthesizer, a “tabla” guitar (a guitar with a playing card woven between the strings, plus an acoustic pickup to produce a pitched percussive sound), and a nine-string acoustic guitar (an open-tuned acoustic twelve-string with only nine strings). The two players perform live on the recording, except for some overdubbing of strings on “The Color of Sound” and “In A Minute,” the sitar sound on “Reflections Of India,” and brushes by Bruce Becker on the intro “Blues For Brother Bru.”
In terms of actual guitar sound, the two players are similar, using “hot” pickups with a bit of drive and reverb that allows one to hear the pick touch the string. Stylistically Becker and Diorio are clearly related, as expected, and their music has an abstract quality marked by unique chord voicings and lines that are often miles away from standard boppish guitar.
In the arrangements, Becker and Diorio have taken great care to maintain a distance from each other, so as to always present a clear picture to the listener. They stay out of each other's way and use different parts of the guitar’s range. Also, Becker keeps to the left channel and Diorio to the right.
The tracks include a very nice mix of standards, Becker compositions, and extemporaneous compositions—a bit of something for everyone. On the standards, the emphasis is many times on the give and take of ideas, rather than merely trading places soloing and comping, thus providing much fascinating listening. The soloing does allow the listener to get a glimpse into each player’s mind as they constantly flirt with the melody as well as the changes.
Becker states that the compositions he brought were written with Diorio in mind. “The Color of Sound” is a beautiful ballad, full of emotion, while “Waltz for Lavignia” has fun with the 3/4 time as it dances and swings.
On the five fully improvised tracks the degree of musical ESP can be heard, along with the most “modern” playing and stretching out. On these tracks, Becker and Diorio embark on a number of musical expeditions into different colors of sound and manage to create coherent, albeit abstract music that is a joy to listen to. The Color of Sound is a very fine record that should appeal to more than just guitarists. Becker and Diorio clearly had fun in the studio, and the fact that Becker could finally record with his mentor inspired him greatly. If you don't know these players, this release might make you look into their catalogues.
Bridge Guitar Review - THE COLOR OF SOUND:
“[Becker and Diorio's] collaboration on this album reflects a touching, intimate conversation on a celebrated musical journey...
This album is a must for any serious jazz enthusiast. ”
- Henk te Veldhuis, Bridge GuitarTwo jazz virtuosi meet on this album. David Becker covers both modern and traditional styles. Joe Diorio has always been an inspiration for many jazz guitarists.
Their collaboration on this album reflects a touching, intimate conversation on a celebrated musical journey. The repertoire they play is a mix of standards of composers like Gershwin, Victor Young , Jerome Kern and own compositions.
Both guitarists use different guitars. Diorio prefers his jazz guitar while Becker uses a tabla guitar, a nine-stringed acoustic guitar and the synthesizer. This all leads to a brilliant musical interaction where both players give each other lots of space to improvise as on Victor Young's Beautiful Love. Waltz for Lavignia by David Becker has an intimate setting in a enchanting ambiance. Dance Of The Inner City is a true master piece with percussive elements. How Old Are You? Is a wonderful musical journey with lots of contrasts, but nevertheless with a renewing modern and spiritual approach.
The Color of Sound composed by David Becker takes you on a intimate and reflective trip with astonishing sound escapades. Reflections of India paints that typical oriental atmosphere with expressive staccato play.
This album is a must for any serious jazz enthusiast.
GETTING YOUR IMPROVISING INTO SHAPE - Author: David Becker
Mel Bay Publications 2005, 64 pages
Reviewed by Lee Prosser
The CD fascinates! Why? Because it has 89 selections that explain musically for the ear what improvising is all about! David Becker excels on the CD. A fine jazz guitarist and recording artist, his style is precise and exact.
An interesting biography of the author is included. As a reference book, this spiral paperback is top-notch and something to rely on for the study of items related to improvising.
Following the introduction are thirteen chapters. Each chapter approaches a different aspect of improvising. These chapters give reliable information, and it is a hands-on approach for the guitarist. Some of the topics covered include dispersed chord scale, altered dominants, a well-presented section on fragments, augmented triads, connecting shapes with chromatics, and progressions. There is much to learn from this book on improvising. David Becker shares some great information!
Enjoy the fine art of improvising with a master of the medium. Becker is a genuine jazz poet of the guitar, and the leader of the David Becker Tribune, a jazz group that has performed in over fifteen countries.