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Verve Jazz Masters, Vol. 21 - George Benson

George Benson

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Album Review

This is a more satisfactory summary of George Benson's late-'60s recordings than the early CD era's Silver Collection because it includes a pair of the later A&M recordings and a couple of guest spots on a Jimmy Smith album from that period. At this time, Benson, still in his mid-20s, was solidifying his reputation as a tremendously fluent and powerful guitar soloist, with plenty of hard bop facility and a genuine taste for R&B riffing and swinging. The eloquent slow blues of "Low Down and Dirty," and the wild, weird use of a Varitone octave multiplier on "The Shape of Things to Come," and the gutsy if occasionally scattered bop licks as a foil for the smoldering Smith (with drummer Donald Bailey) on "The Boss" go a long way toward illustrating Benson's range here. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi


Born: 22 March 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...
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