Review: Jason Becker – Triumphant Hearts

By Andrew Catania

There’s guitarists that we looked up too while growing up, few have left a mark on me like Jason Becker has.  

Jason Becker’s story is one of brilliance, talent, determination, adversity, and, ultimately, triumph. A child prodigy on guitar, Jason rose to prominence as a teenager when he was one half of the technical guitar duoCacophony, with his great friend Marty Friedman. In 1989, at only 19 years old and after wowing audiences all over the world, the young virtuoso became the guitarist for David Lee Roth, following in the huge footsteps of Eddie VanHalen and Steve Vai. He wrote and recorded on his 3rd solo album ‘A Little Ain’t Enough’ and was poised for superstardom when a nagging pain in his leg was diagnosed as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). A fatal condition with a life expectancy of maybe five years.

That was 29 years ago. He lost the ability to play guitar, walk, talk, and breathe on his own. But never lost his will to live or his desire to create music. Communicating through a series of eye movements with a system developed by his father, Jason spells out words as well as musical notes and chords. He imparts his musical vision to his team who then can input the notes into a computer, edit the parts to his exacting standards, and then generate charts for session musicians. His inspiring music and life story have been the subject of countless news articles, magazine cover stories, and an award-winning documentary, JasonBecker: Not Dead Yet.

The album’s 14 tracks showcaseJason’s gift for melody and his deep knowledge of classical composition and orchestral arrangement. Many of the guitar parts are performed by a who’s whoof 6-string gods including Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Neal Schon, Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert, Joe Bonamassa, and many others. And, in what will absolutely delight his fans, Jason’s amazing guitar playing—recorded in the ’80s and ’90s—features throughout.

Two of my favorite tracks are unreleased outtakes from the ‘A Little Ain’t Enough’ sessions, the hard rocking ‘Taking Me Back’ and the blues-infused ‘’Tell Me No Lies’.

Jason has assembled some of the great guitarists of our genre on Triumphant Hearts.  He hasn’t let AL affect his musical creativity.  10/10 RATING

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