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George Benson

George Benson is an NEA Jazz Master

Appreciated as both musician and performer by millions, George Benson has always had the duel personae of expert improviser and vibrant entertainer. He has always placed his keenly discerning art in the service of a rousing good time. Rounding out his singular approach with sly, seductive rhythm and blues, he's earned himself an impeccable reputation as one of music's most enterprising and engaging stars.

Few might have predicted that striking level of stardom some forty years ago, when Benson was a fledgling guitarist working the corner pubs of his native Pittsburgh. That's where his yen to please a crowd was born. "I was an entertainer first," he says proudly "As a kid I sang, danced and played the ukelele in a nightclub. As my career has progressed, I've had the pleasure of playing with the baddest jazz cats on the planet. But that doesn't change my desire to entertain folks. That's really who I am."

It was Wes Montgomery, one of jazz's most creative players, who came across Benson early on; the vet complimented the young guitarist, urging him to continue his already impressive work. In the early 1960s, Benson apprenticed with organist Brother Jack McDuff; he found the organist's gritty swing a fertile ground for the sly, confident and adventurous guitar lines which earned him an early rep as a master.

"Jack turned me on to a lot of stuff," muses Benson. "A lot of the jazz tunes we played together were danceable, and that furthered my understanding of what people wanted. When jazz was danceable, it was king. The intellectual stuff that came later on - Charlie Parker and all that - turned toward a brainier sound. That was good, and I dug it. But I really like when people kick up their heels and go crazy."

Montgomery had called one of his best records Boss Guitar. Benson had both the conviction and chops to nip at his hero's heels; his 1964 debut was released as The New Boss Guitar. It lived up to its title. Benson's tone was juicy, and his blues solos sparkled with a carefully honed logic. A jaunty funk and swing aesthetic prevailed. By the time legendary talent scout John Hammond signed Benson to Columbia, the guitarist's name was bubbling throughout the industry. His work for the label proved Hammond's hunch to be on-target: brains and flash were in perfect synch. "I'd sat down with a great blind pianist from San Francisco name Freddy Gambrel," recalls Benson. "He turned me onto some wonderful ways to get in and out of chord changes and weld harmonies together. Of course I still wanted to be like Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, and Hank Garland - my heroes. I've always liked the hot guitar guys."

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Liner Notes

CTI Acid Jazz Grooves by Various Artists

Read "CTI Acid Jazz Grooves by Various Artists" reviewed by Arnaldo DeSouteiro


The CD you are holding in your hands is a very special compilation. It's the celebration of CTI as one of the most “sampled" labels on Earth! For the past ten years, many CTI tracks have been cut up, sampled, scratched and looped to create new songs for a new audience. Many of the selections on this album (all of them produced by Creed Taylor and engineered by Rudy Van Gelder) represented the basic inspiration and major influence in the ...

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Liner Notes

Jean-Luc Ponty: Open Mind

Read "Jean-Luc Ponty: Open Mind" reviewed by Peter Rubie


If Individual Choice was the sketchbook of Jean-Luc Ponty's (JLP) decision to take his music in a new direction, Open Mind (1984), released the following year, was a deeper exploration of the emerging world of synthesizers and sequencers and their impact on live (studio) performance. Here, complex rhythmic patterns shift in the background while new sounds appear and disappear on the surface in colorful bursts, and outstanding jazz improvisors create familiar music in new settings. It's almost an audio version ...

18
Album Review

Hank Mobley: The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70

Read "The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan


The music world has changed considerably since Michael Cuscuna and Charlie Lourie founded their boutique reissue label Mosaic Records back in 1983. From its inception, vinyl was still the preferred format, shortly to be overtaken by the popularity of the compact disc. At the cusp of vinyl's recent resurgence, Mosaic briefly got back into that format only to find themselves on the brink of closing up shop. Fortunately, the powers that be have forged on and recent CD boxed sets ...

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Live Review

Jazz At Juan 2019

Read "Jazz At Juan 2019" reviewed by Martin McFie


Jazz at Juan Opening Weekend Juan Les Pins, South of France July 12-21, 2019 Jazz at Juan-Les-Pins has always been the boutique quality jazz festival of the South of France. The stage beside the blue Mediterranean Sea, was open-backed leaving a view through to the sunset over the Bay of Angels. The audience of 3,000 was all seated in bleachers. Live big screens showed the detail of performances. This year 2019, is the 59th edition ...

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In Pictures

CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival 2019

Read "CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival 2019" reviewed by Gregory Savage


The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival, held June 21st thru the 29th, was a huge success. The streets of downtown Rochester, New York, are the perfect venue to host nine straight days (and nights) of jazz. The eighteenth annual festival had a little something for everyone, including perfect weather. From high school bands, to rising stars, to NEA Jazz Masters; every level of jazz was heard and seen. The lineup included jazz greats George Benson, Eddie Henderson, Steve Gadd, Harold ...

2
Live Review

Festival International De Jazz De Montreal 2019

Read "Festival International De Jazz De Montreal 2019" reviewed by Wendy Ross


Festival International De Montreal De Jazz Various Venues Montreal June 29-July 1, 2019  Billed as the largest Jazz festival in the world, the International Festival de Montreal de jazz has over its 40 years presented some 16,000 concerts with thousands of artists from all over the world. The aim is to offer a space where new and established artists perform side by side in a confluence of genres and cultures. To pull ...

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In Pictures

Freihofer Saratoga Jazz Festival 2019

Read "Freihofer Saratoga Jazz Festival 2019" reviewed by Richard Conde


Celebrating its 42nd anniversary over the June 29th weekend, the 2019 Freihofer Saratoga Jazz Festival at the Saratoga's Performing Arts center in Saratoga Springs N.Y., featured a great program presenting a wide range of music. Over 25 featured artist played over two days across two stages with headliner George Benson taking the Amphitheater stage Saturday night. Other featured artist included Norah Jones, Trombone Shorty, Joshua Redman and Veronica Swift just to name a few. This festival is a must for ...

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Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating George Benson's birthday today!

Appreciated as both musician and performer by millions, George Benson has always had the duel personae of expert improviser and vibrant entertainer. He has always placed his keenly discerning art in the service of a rousing good time. Rounding out his singular approach with sly, seductive rhythm and blues, he's earned himself an impeccable reputation as one of music's most enterprising and engaging stars. Few might have predicted that striking level ...

1

Performance / Tour

Legendary Guitarist and Jazz Master George Benson Performs On New Jersey Performing Arts Center Stage June 2nd

Legendary Guitarist and Jazz Master George Benson Performs On New Jersey Performing Arts Center Stage June 2nd

Source: AMT Public Relations

Friday, June 2, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. ET George Benson is simply one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history,” writes music critic Richard S. Ginell, yet jazz guitar is only the beginning for George. A relentless shapeshifter, he’s equally imaginative playing pop, R&B and soul—and equally talented as a vocalist, composer and songwriter. No fan will want to miss this evening with the NEA Jazz Master, 10-time GRAMMY winner and creator of too-many-to-count albums. Now in the seventh decade ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating George Benson's birthday today!

Appreciated as both musician and performer by millions, George Benson has always had the duel personae of expert improviser and vibrant entertainer. He has always placed his keenly discerning art in the service of a rousing good time. Rounding out his singular approach with sly, seductive rhythm and blues, he's earned himself an impeccable reputation as one of music's most enterprising and engaging stars. Few might have predicted that striking level ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating George Benson's birthday today!

Appreciated as both musician and performer by millions, George Benson has always had the duel personae of expert improviser and vibrant entertainer. He has always placed his keenly discerning art in the service of a rousing good time. Rounding out his singular approach with sly, seductive rhythm and blues, he's earned himself an impeccable reputation as one of music's most enterprising and engaging stars. Few might have predicted that striking level ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating George Benson's birthday today!

Appreciated as both musician and performer by millions, George Benson has always had the duel personae of expert improviser and vibrant entertainer. He has always placed his keenly discerning art in the service of a rousing good time. Rounding out his singular approach with sly, seductive rhythm and blues, he's earned himself an impeccable reputation as one of music's most enterprising and engaging stars. Few might have predicted that striking level ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating George Benson's birthday today!

Appreciated as both musician and performer by millions, George Benson has always had the duel personae of expert improviser and vibrant entertainer. He has always placed his keenly discerning art in the service of a rousing good time. Rounding out his singular approach with sly, seductive rhythm and blues, he\'s earned himself an impeccable reputation as one of music\'s most enterprising and engaging stars... Read more.

Place our Musician of the ...

3

Festival

Lineup Announced For 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival 18th Edition

Lineup Announced For 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival 18th Edition

Source: Dalmath Associates Inc.

Producers John Nugent and Marc Iacona today announced the full lineup for the 2019 nine-day CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival. Now in its 18th year, the festival will be held June 21 to 29 and present more than 320+ shows including a record 100+ free shows and 1500+ artists from around the world performing in 20 diverse venues in downtown Rochester, New York. Headlining this year's festival are George Benson, Steve Gadd Band, Patti LaBelle, Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred ...

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Music Industry

Mascot Label Group announces signing of jazz legend George Benson

Mascot Label Group announces signing of jazz legend George Benson

Source: All About Jazz

Mascot Label Group/Provogue are thrilled to announce the signing of soul and jazz guitar legend George Benson, with a new album scheduled for a Spring 2019 release. The 10 time Grammy Award winner and NEA Jazz Master is one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history and has released 35 studio albums, including the multi-platinum Billboard #1 Breezin. He has also had a string of hits to his name including “Give Me The Night", “Never Give Up On A Good ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Jazz Musician of the Day: George Benson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating George Benson's birthday today!

Appreciated as both musician and performer by millions, George Benson has always had the duel personae of expert improviser and vibrant entertainer. He has always placed his keenly discerning art in the service of a rousing good time. Rounding out his singular approach with sly, seductive rhythm and blues, he\'s earned himself an impeccable reputation as one of music\'s most enterprising and engaging stars... Read more.

Place our Musician of the ...

Performance / Tour

Jazz this week: Joey DeFrancesco, George Benson, Denise Thimes, and more

Jazz this week: Joey DeFrancesco, George Benson, Denise Thimes, and more

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

As the not-for-profit presenting season and the spring academic semester both approach their ends, this week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis nevertheless features performances from two major touring headliners, plus a number of other noteworthy shows. Let's go to the highlights... Wednesday, May 10 Organist Joey DeFrancesco returns to Jazz at the Bistro for the first of four nights, continuing through Saturday. DeFrancesco recently expanded his band from a trio to a quartet, and has ...

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organ, Hammond B3
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piano
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