Cliff Beach: Live at NAMM
The National Association of Music Merchants trade showcommonly—referred to as NAMM—gives musicians and industry regulars alike the chance to mingle, schmooze and network with colleagues from all over the U.S. Bandleader Cliff Beach was one of the many musicians who hauled his gear to Southern California and descended upon the annual event in 2019, wasting no time and recording Live at NAMM with his six-piece band. The live record’s two toe-tapping openers come off his 2017 LP The Gospel According to Cliff Beach, and throughout the set the singer preaches the good word, with an infectious positivism that shines through his music. Each of the eight brassy selections give Beach room to showcase his keyboard work and well-trained vocals, especially the swinging “Ready To Fall In Love Again,” where he belts with refreshing clarity, “How can somebody love me, if I don’t love myself?” From start to finish, Beach’s laughs and banter are infectious, and a mid-set medley of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” Bill Withers’ “Who Is He,” Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” and Timbaland’s “Ease Off The Liquor” proves just how varied his influences are. By the time the Stevie Wonder-esque feel of closer “Let Me Down” rolls around, you might as well give in and get dancing. Toss in a mid-song tease of Al Green’s “Love And Happiness,” and you’ll be kicking yourself wishing you made the trip out to Anaheim to see this set in person.