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Standing Together

George Benson

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Album Review

Having achieved monstrous success as both a pop vocalist and electric guitarist, George Benson spends most of his albums switching back and forth between crooning over easy soul grooves and gracefully invoking the spirit of Wes Montgomery, the forerunner of the snappy "Breezin'" Benson string style. On Standing Together, he finds his most distinctive voice as an inventive scat vocalist somewhere in the middle of these two modes — a technique he employs effectively here over brisk guitar licks on the best tracks, the retro-funky, densely percussive "Cruise Control" and the seductive Latin waltz "Poquito Spanish, Poquito Funk." Smooth jazz super-producer Paul Brown adds two clever touches to this latter track: a few brief symphonic washes and a soaring chant vocal behind the scat. The subtle soul Brown has given to a large handful of the genre's successful artists comes across best on the hooky "Fly by Night," which sounds like a great Boney James tune, only with Benson's guitar rather than sax in the lead. The set is bookended by the gentler guitar meditations "C-Smooth" and "Keep Rollin'," which don't challenge his catalog but are likeable enough. Between these standout cuts, however, Benson plays it pretty safe, functioning mostly as a lead vocalist on fluffy, easygoing romances he didn't write, like the title track and "Back to Love." "All I Know" is a far cry from "On Broadway," but as on that classic performance, Benson mixes a passionate lead vocal with the scat interludes listeners never quite get tired of.

Customer Reviews

Standing Together

It's hard for me to choose favorites among George Benson albums--it feels like picking a favorite child. But I have to say that this is the best in my book. "Standing Together", "All I Know" and "Still Waters" are worth the price of admission alone for their incomparable match of lyrics and sound. "Poquito Spanish, Poquito Funk" has an immediately familiar and uplifting quality. "Cruise Control" makes you feel like you are driving down a beautiful California coastal road with your best pals. If you like smooth jazz, and especially if you like George Benson, you'll love this album.

Good stuff!

I've always been a big Fan of GB music and by far this one is my hands down favorite. I first got this one in 98 and has never gotten old. From C groove to the end it melts the heart and fuels the soul. Great music to chill to.

Biography

Born: March 22, 1943 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

George Benson is simply one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history, but he is also an amazingly versatile musician, and that frustrates to no end critics who would paint him into a narrow bop box. He can play in just about any style — from swing to bop to R&B to pop — with supreme taste, a beautiful rounded tone, terrific speed, a marvelous sense of logic in building solos, and, always, an unquenchable urge to swing. His inspirations may have been Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery...
Full Bio

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