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Album Review

Givin' It Up finds crossover jazz icons guitarist George Benson and vocalist Al Jarreau teaming up for a breezy, enjoyably melodic session that highlights both artists' long careers. Technically a duo album, it is Benson's first since signing with Concord Records. As such, it works as a nice reintroduction to both artists and even finds them reworking the Bobby Womack classic "Breezin'," which Benson originally covered on his 1976 album of the same name. Here listeners get Jarreau adding lyrics and vocals on a version that really evokes the classic '70s jazz-meets-R&B sound that was an original hallmark of smooth jazz. In that sense, Givin' It Up is a true joy for fans of that more organic, song-oriented approach to crossover music, with Benson and Jarreau digging in to such great songs as Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze," John Legend's "Ordinary People," and Darryl Hall's "Every Time You Go Away." Also adding some unexpected fun and celebrity sheen to the proceedings is an impromptu appearance by Paul McCartney, who joins in on Sam Cooke's gospel-inflected "Bring It on Home to Me." Throw in appearances by trumpeter Chris Botti, vocalist Patti Austin, pianist Herbie Hancock, and bassist Marcus Miller and Stanley Clarke, and Givin' It Up proves music is always fun with a little help from your friends.

Customer Reviews


Benson and Jarreau make everything on this compilation easy to listen to and enjoy. A must have staple in your music collection! Check out Breezin' and Mornin'....nice!

2 giants of contemporary jazz together, what could be better???

Two of my favorite contemporary jazz artists collaborating on a project... ahhhh.... just what the smooth jazz universe desperately needed! I think the songs were well selected; however, I can't imagine the vast material that could have been culled to make for even more memorable selections from this dynamic duo. I like it just the same.... Hopefully they'll be touring together to promote this project and can be seen live at a venue near me soon! Long live great music and the musicians that make it! Kudos Mr. Benson and Jarreau.....

Nothing Less Than The Best!

When you hear the names George Benson and Al Jarreau,you think of nothing less than the best in jazz, and they bring it on this collaboration.One of the best jazz cds out this year,and with the duets with Jill Scott and Pattie Austin('God Bless The Child','Let It Rain')it's icing on the cake!


Born: March 22, 1943 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Jazz

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

Simply one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history, George Benson is an amazingly versatile musician, whose adept skills find him crossing easily between straight-ahead jazz, smooth jazz, and contemporary R&B. Blessed with supreme taste, a beautiful, rounded guitar tone, terrific speed, a marvelous sense of logic in building solos, and, always, an unquenchable urge to swing, Benson's inspirations may have been Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery, but his style is completely his own. Not only...
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