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From hard bop guitarist to R&B/pop superstar, George Benson has
worn a wide variety of hats over the years. R&B lovers know him as
the guitar-playing vocalist who is responsible for such hits as
"Give Me The Night" and "Turn Your Love Around,"
while the jazz world continues to treasure his classic instrumental
albums of the 1960s and early 1970s. It goes without saying that
Benson's million-selling "Breezin'" album of 1976 practically
defined the NAC, quiet storm, and contemporary jazz radio formats.
the guitarist/singer is so diverse and unpredictable, one never knows
what he will do from one album to the next. On "Absolute
Benson," the eight-time GRAMMY-winner surprised us once again by
emphasizing instrumental music. While his previous album, 1998's
"Standing Together," was full of R&B/pop singing, only
three of "Absolute
Benson"'s nine songs find him providing
vocals. Everything else on the album is instrumental.
Born in Pittsburgh, George Benson fell in love
with a variety of music as a child and was only eight when he first sang
in a local nightclub. As a guitarist, his primary influences were
Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery. But by the time organist Jack
McDuff hired a 19-year-old Benson as a sideman in 1962, it was clear
that he had become quite distinctive and recognizable himself.
George Benson's first album as a leader, 1964's
"The New Boss Guitar of George Benson" on Prestige, was in the
hard bop/soul-jazz vein and was followed by the critically-acclaimed,
John Hammond-produced straight-ahead albums he recorded for Columbia in
1965 and 1966.
When one thinks of improvisers who defined
straight-ahead jazz guitar in the 1960s, Benson's name is inevitably
mentioned along with Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, and Grant Green. But he
was never a jazz purist, and his love of R&B, rock, and pop became
increasingly evident when he joined forces with producer Creed Taylor first at A&M in the late 1960s, then at Taylor's CTI label from
1971-1975. While Benson was still best known as a jazz instrumentalist
during that period, he didn't hesitate to incorporate funk, soul, and
rock rhythms or interpret the hit soul, pop, and rock songs of the day.
It was in 1976 that Benson took the plunge and became
a superstar in the pop and R&B worlds thanks to the platinum "Breezin',"
which soared to #1 on the pop charts and contained his GRAMMY-winning
hit recording of
Leon Russell's "This Masquerade." For the
first time, Benson was enjoying worldwide mass appeal.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, Benson emphasized vocals
and enjoyed one major R&B/pop smash after another, including
"The Greatest Love of All" and a remake of The Drifters'
"On Broadway," "Give Me The Night," "Turn Your
Love Around" and the Kashif-produced "Inside Love," among
others. But true to form, Benson refused to play any one style of music
exclusively. He returned to classic standards and acoustic-oriented jazz
with 1989's "Tenderly" and paid tribute to Count Basie on
1990's "Big Boss Band."
The 1990s found Benson rejoining LiPuma, who had
produced Benson's Warner Bros. recordings throughout the '70s and
'80s-at GRP Records. Together they offered a modern vision of
contemporary jazz on the 1996 gem "That's Right." They also
collaborated on 1998's "Standing Together," which again
showcased Benson's chops while bringing in elements of hip hop and
Throughout his career, George Benson has
embraced everything from straight-ahead jazz to contemporary jazz to
R&B/pop vocals. And through it all he has demonstrated that
creativity and commercial success aren't mutually exclusive.
Hit songs include --
- Show Me The Love
- Give Me The Night
- Turn Your Love Around
- On Broadway
- The Greatest Love of All
- Inside Love (So Personal)
- Love Ballad
- This Masquerade
- Lady Love Me (One More Time)
- Love All The Hurt Away
- Song For My Brother
- I Just Wanna Hang Around You
- Let's Do It Again
- Love X Love
- Kisses In The Moonlight
- Never Give Up On A Good Thing
- Standing Together
- Twice The Love
George Benson may be available for your next special event!
.Smooth Jazz. / SmoothJazz
.Crossover Jazz. / CrossoverJazz
.Instrumental Pop. / InstrumentalPop
.Contemporary Jazz. / ContemporaryJazz
.Hard Bop. / HardBop
.Pop. / xPop
x60s, x70s, x80s, x90s, x00s, x10s, x20s
Born: ..in Pennsylvania / born nPennsylvania
Born: ..in Pittsburgh / born
Born: Mar 22, 1943
Based: ..in US
Based: ..in New Jersey / based nNewJersey
Based: ..in Englewood /
Tag: .Orchestra charts available. / OrchestraCharts