Perry Beekman’s solo debut, subtitled Sings And Plays Cole Porter, offers 15 examples of why Porter’s catalog has outlived passing fashions and fads. The Woodstock-based guitarist considered calling it A Tale of Two Coles – the other being Nat “King” Cole, whose drummerless-trio format Beekman uses here, with pianist Peter Tomlinson and upright bassist Lou Pappas.
Beekman studied with pianist Lennie Tristano and guitarists Joe Monk, Sal Salvador, and Remo Palmier, and judging by the intricate unison guitar/piano lines in “Let’s Misbehave,” his lessons paid off.
A bossa nova “I Get A Kick Out Of You” illustrates Beekman’s warm but clear tone, in his comping as well as a melodic solo. Instrumental arrangements of “Always True To You In My Fashion” and “My Heart Belongs To Daddy” give him a chance to show tasteful mastery of chord-melody, octaves, and single-note work.
Beekman’s archtop is a beautiful 1960 D’Angelico New Yorker, which he sought out because of the “warmth, richness, clarity, and balance” heard on recordings by Johnny Smith, Mundell Lowe, John Collins, and Billy Bauer.
Eschewing vocal gymnastics, Beekman lets Porter’s lyrics and melodies speak for themselves. Considering his dual talents, John Pizzarelli might need to watch his back.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s November. ’13 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.