Jennifer Batten's Stretching Creativity
After spending three years going head-to-head with rock guitar icon Jeff Beck in his band, and a decade as the featured six-string soloist in pop-music legend Michael Jackson's group, Jennifer Batten was ready to downsize.
“I really needed a change,” said the former San Diego guitar wiz, whose Wednesday solo concert at Dizzy's downtown marks her first area performance since a sold-out 1999 show with Beck at the SDSU Open Air Theatre.
In addition to completing “Whatever,” her recently released third solo album (which includes a bonus DVD), she spent a year in Portland studying how to make stained glass. Batten now divides her time between the guitar and making glass art, samples of which can be seen on her Web site (jenniferbatten.com).
While the techniques for making music and glass art are quite different, the creative impetus is very similar, she noted. “To me, it's exactly the same, except that I run the danger of injuring my fingers doing glass art and I don't have that danger with guitar,” Batten said.
“Both deal with the excitement of creating something that wasn't here yesterday, whether it's writing songs or making glass art. It's all about stretching your creativity.”
Stretching is nothing new for this dazzling guitarist, who no less an authority than the legendary Beck has hailed as “fantastic,” “great” and a “vital ingredient” to his band, with which she performed from 1998 to 2001.
“My ears have been completely trashed by playing with Jeff Beck for three years,” she said. “Playing by myself, I don't need to blast it or keep up with the volume of the drummer. It's very relaxing. Plus, I don't have to feed a band and put up with their complaints.”