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George Benson

George Benson performing in Madrid 2009
Courtesy: Raul Ranz
Background information
Born March 22, 1943 (1943-03-22) (age 66)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
United States
Genres Jazz, funk, R&B, pop
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1964–present
Labels Columbia, Verve, CTI, Warner Bros.
Website www.georgebenson.com
Notable instruments
Ibanez GB10 Signature Model
Ibanez GB200 Signature Model

George Benson (born March 22, 1943)[1] is a Grammy Award-winning American musician, whose recording career began at the age of twenty-one as a jazz guitarist. He is also known as a pop, R&B, and scat singer. This one-time child prodigy topped the Billboard 200 in 1976 with the triple-platinum album, Breezin'.[2 ] He was also a major live attraction in the UK during the 1980s.[2 ] Benson currently lives in Florida and is an active Jehovah's Witness. Benson uses a rest-stroke picking technique very similar to that of gypsy jazz players such as Django Reinhardt.

Contents

Biography

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Early career

Benson was born and raised in the Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended the Connelly High School although he left before graduation. As a youth, instead, he learned how to play straight-ahead instrumental jazz during a relationship performing for several years with organist Jack McDuff. At the age of 21, he recorded his first album as leader, The New Boss Guitar, featuring McDuff.[1] Benson's next recording was It's Uptown with the George Benson Quartet including Lonnie Smith on organ and Ronnie Cuber on baritone saxophone.[1] Benson followed it up with The George Benson Cookbook, also with Lonnie Smith and Ronnie Cuber on baritone and drummer Marion Booker.[1]

Miles Davis employed Benson in the mid 1960s, featuring his guitar on "Paraphernalia" on his 1967 Columbia release, Miles in the Sky. Benson went to Verve Records afterwards. Then, Creed Taylor signed him up for his CTI label, where he recorded numerous albums with jazz heavyweights guesting to limited financial success. Benson also did a version of The Beatles's 1969 album Abbey Road called The Other Side of Abbey Road, also released in 1969, and a version of "White Rabbit", originally written and recorded by San Francisco rock group Jefferson Airplane, around this time.[1]

1970s and 1980s

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By the mid to late 1970s, as he recorded for Warner Bros. Records, a whole new audience began to discover Benson for the first time. With the 1976 release Breezin', Benson began to put his vocal on tracks such as "This Masquerade". He had used his vocals on songs earlier in his career, notably his rendition of "Here Comes the Sun" on the Other Side of Abbey Road album. He was part of psychedelic soul group Harlem Underground Band during the 1970s, whose song "Smokin' Cheeba Cheeba" was featured in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.[3]

Benson toured with soul singer, Minnie Riperton, in 1976. Riperton had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer earlier that year. "This Masquerade" won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year and the live take of "On Broadway", recorded two years later from the 1978 release Weekend in L.A., also won a Grammy. Benson made it into the pop and R&B top ten with the song "Give Me the Night", produced by Quincy Jones. On Warner Bros., Benson accumulated three other platinum LPs and two gold albums.[4]

He also recorded the original version of "Greatest Love of All" for the 1977 Muhammad Ali bio-pic, The Greatest, which was later recorded as a cover by Whitney Houston.[4] During this time Benson recorded with the German conductor, Claus Ogerman.[5]

Later and current career

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In 1985 Benson and guitarist Chet Atkins went on the smooth jazz charts with their collaboration "Sunrise", one of two songs from the duo released on Atkins' disc Stay Tuned. In 1992, Benson appeared on Jack McDuff's Colour Me Blue album. Benson toured with Al Jarreau in America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to promote their 2006 album Givin' It Up. He played during the second Monsoon Cup in Terengganu in 2006 and also Malaysia's 50th Merdeka celebration alongside Jarreau in 2007. In May 2008, for the first time Benson took part in Mawazine Festival in Morocco.

To commemorate the long term relationship between Benson and Ibanez and to celebrate 30 years of collaboration on the GB Signature Models, Ibanez created the GB30TH, a very limited edition model featuring a gold foil finish inspired by the traditional Japanese Garahuku art form.[6] In 2009, Benson was recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts as a Jazz Master, the nations highest honor in Jazz. [7] Benson performed at the 49th issue of The Ohrid Summer Festival in Macedonia on July 25, 2009, and his tribute show to Nat King Cole "An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole" as part of the Istanbul International Jazz Festival in Turkey on July 27. In the fall of 2009, Benson finished recording a new album titled Songs and Stories, with Marcus Miller, Concord Music Group EVP A&R and producer John Burk, [8] David Paich and Steve Lukather of Toto.[9] As a part of the promotion for his recent Concord Music Group/Monster Music release Songs and Stories, Benson has appeared and/or performed on The Tavis Smiley Show [10], Jimmy Kimmel Live [11] and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon[12].

He is currently touring and performing in support of his recent release Songs and Stories (Concord Music Group/Monster Music.[13]

Benson will tour throughout 2010 in North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim.

Discography

Albums

Year Album U.S. Pop U.S. R&B U.S. Jazz Label
1964 George Benson/Jack McDuff Prestige
The New Boss Guitar
1965 Benson Burner Columbia
It's Uptown
1966 The George Benson Cookbook
Willow Weep for Me CBS
1967 Blue Benson #23 Verve
1968 Giblet Gravy
Goodies
1969 Shape of Things to Come #38 #11 A&M
Tell It Like It Is #145 #43 #16
The Other Side of Abbey Road #125 #18
1970 I Got a Woman & Some Blues
1971 Beyond the Blue Horizon #15 CTI
1972 White Rabbit #7
1973 Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon, Vol. 1 Accord
Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon, Vol. 2
Witchcraft Jazz Hour
1974 Body Talk #10 CTI
1975 Bad Benson #78 #1
1976 Good King Bad #51 #18 #3
Benson & Farrell #100 #27 #3
Breezin' #1 #1 #1 Warner Bros.
1977 In Concert-Carnegie Hall #122 #43 #6 CTI
In Flight #9 #2 #1 Warner Bros.
1978 Space Album CTI
Weekend in L. A. #5 #1 #1 Warner Bros.
1979 Livin' Inside Your Love #7 #4 #1
Take Five CTI
1980 Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Give Me the Night #3 #1 #1 Warner Bros.
1981 GB CTI
The George Benson Collection #14 #5 #1 Warner Bros.
1983 In Your Eyes #27 #6 #1
Pacific Fire CTI
1984 20/20 #45 #20 #3 Warner Bros.
Live in Concert Design
1985 The Electrifying George Benson Affinity
1986 While the City Sleeps... #77 #21 #8 Warner Bros.
1987 Collaboration (with Earl Klugh) #59 #28 #1
1988 Twice the Love #76 #17 #10
1989 Tenderly #140 #1
1990 Big Boss Band #3
1991 Midnight Moods
1992 The Essence of George Benson Columbia
1993 Love Remembers #50 #1 Warner Bros.
1994 The Most Exciting New Guitarist on the Jazz Scene Sony
1995 The Best of George Benson #14 Warner Bros.
1996 California Dreamin' Sony
Lil Darlin' Thunderbolt
That's Right #150 #33 #1 GRP
1998 Standing Together #47 #1
Masquerade Thunderbolt
1999 The Masquerade Is Over Jazz Hour
2000 Live at Casa Caribe Columbia River
Absolute Benson #125 #24 #1 GRP
2001 All Blues Bianco
2002 Blue Bossa Prestige Elite
After Hours Universe
2003 Irreplaceable GRP
2003 The Greatest Hits of All #138 #74 #3 Rhino
2004 Golden Legends Live St. Clair
2005 Jazz After Hours with George Benson Performax
Best of George Benson Live #4 GRP
2006 Givin' It Up (with Al Jarreau) #58 #14 #1 Monster Music/Concord
2009 Songs And Stories #96 #15 #1 Monster Music/Concord

Singles

Year Title U.S. Pop U.S. R&B UK Singles Chart[2 ]
1975 "Supership" #30
1976 "This Masquerade" #10 #3
"Breezin'" #63 #55
1977 "Everything Must Change" #34
"Nature Boy" #26
"Gonna Love You More" #71 #41
"The Greatest Love of All" #24 #2 #27
1978 "On Broadway" #7 #2
"Lady Blue" #39
1979 "Love Ballad" #18 #3 #29
"Unchained Melody" #55
1980 "Give Me the Night" #4 #1 #7
"Love X Love" #61 #9 #10
1981 "Love All the Hurt Away" (with Aretha Franklin) #46 #6
"Turn Out the Lamplight" #33
"What's On Your Mind" #45
"Turn Your Love Around" #5 #1 #29
1982 "Never Give Up on a Good Thing" #52 #16 #14
1983 "Inside Love (So Personal)" #43 #3 #57
"Lady Love Me (One More Time)" #30 #21 #11
"Feel Like Makin' Love" #28
"In Your Eyes" #7
1984 "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You/Late At Night"
"20/20" #48 #15 #29
1985 "Beyond The Sea (La Mer)" #60
"I Just Wanna Hang Around You" #102 #24
"New Day" #87
"No One Emotion"
1986 "Kisses in the Moonlight" #13 #60
"Shiver" #16 #19
1987 "Teaser" #45
1988 "Let's Do it Again"
1988 "Twice the Love" #23
1993 "Kiss and Make Up"
1998 "Standing Together" #62
2004 "Cell Phone"
2009 "Living in High Definition"

References

External links


George Benson
File:George Benson
George Benson performing in Madrid 2009
Background information
Born March 22, 1943 (1943-03-22) (age 67)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
United States
Genres Jazz, funk, R&B, pop
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, archtop guitar
Years active 1964–present
Labels Columbia, CTI, Concord Jazz
Website www.georgebenson.com
Notable instruments
Ibanez GB10 Signature Model
Ibanez GB200 Signature Model

George Benson (born March 22, 1943)[1] is a multi Grammy Award winning American musician, whose recording career began at the age of twenty-one as a jazz guitarist. He is also known as a pop, R&B, and scat singer. This one-time child prodigy topped the Billboard 200 in 1976 with the triple-platinum album, Breezin'.[2] He was also a major live attraction in the UK during the 1980s.[2] Benson uses a rest-stroke picking technique similar to that of gypsy jazz players such as Django Reinhardt.

Contents

Biography

Early career

Benson was born and raised in the Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of 7, Benson first played the ukulele in a corner drug store for which he was paid a few dollars; at the age of 8, he was playing guitar in an unlicensed nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights which was soon closed down by the police. At the age of 10, George recorded his first single record with RCA-Victor in New York, called 'She Makes Me Mad'.[3]

Benson attended the Connelly High School although he left before graduation. As a youth, instead, he learned how to play straight-ahead instrumental jazz during a relationship performing for several years with organist Jack McDuff. At the age of 21, he recorded his first album as leader, The New Boss Guitar, featuring McDuff.[1] Benson's next recording was It's Uptown with the George Benson Quartet including Lonnie Smith on organ and Ronnie Cuber on baritone saxophone.[1] Benson followed it up with The George Benson Cookbook, also with Lonnie Smith and Ronnie Cuber on baritone and drummer Marion Booker.[1]

Miles Davis employed Benson in the mid 1960s, featuring his guitar on "Paraphernalia" on his 1968 Columbia release, Miles in the Sky. Benson went to Verve Records afterwards. Then, he signed with CTI Records, where he recorded numerous albums with jazz heavyweights guesting to limited financial success. Benson also did a version of The Beatles's 1969 album Abbey Road called The Other Side of Abbey Road, also released in 1969, and a version of "White Rabbit", originally written and recorded by San Francisco rock group Jefferson Airplane, around this time.[1]

1970s and 1980s

By the mid to late 1970s, as he recorded for Warner Bros. Records, a whole new audience began to discover Benson for the first time. With the 1976 release Breezin', Benson began to put his vocal on tracks such as "This Masquerade". He had used his vocals infrequently on songs earlier in his career, notably his rendition of "Here Comes the Sun" on the Other Side of Abbey Road album. Breezin was a significant album in terms of popular music history - the first jazz release to go Platinum and the first indication that something new was about to happen. In 1976, Benson toured with soul singer, Minnie Riperton, who had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer earlier that year. "This Masquerade" won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year and the live take of "On Broadway", recorded two years later from the 1978 release Weekend in L.A., also won a Grammy. He has worked with Freddie Hubbard on a number of his albums throughout the '60s '70s and '80s.

The first recipient of this stellar team effort was Benson, and the Qwest label's first official release was Benson's breakthrough pop album Give Me The Night. Benson made it into the pop and R&B top ten with the song "Give Me the Night", produced by Quincy Jones having previously been almost unknown to the younger audience. More importantly, Quincy Jones encouraged Benson to search his roots for further vocal inspiration and he re-discovered his love for Nat Cole, Ray Charles and Donny Hathaway in the process influencing a string of further vocal albums into the 90's. Despite returning to his jazz and guitar playing most recently, this theme was reflected again much later in Benson's 2000 release Absolute Benson featuring a cover of one of Hathaway's most notable songs, The Ghetto. Benson accumulated three other platinum LPs and two gold albums.[4] He also recorded the original version of "Greatest Love of All" for the 1977 Muhammad Ali bio-pic, The Greatest, which was later recorded as a cover by Whitney Houston.[4] During this time Benson recorded with the German conductor, Claus Ogerman.[5]

Later and current career

In 1985 Benson and guitarist Chet Atkins went on the smooth jazz charts with their collaboration "Sunrise", one of two songs from the duo released on Atkins' disc Stay Tuned. In 1992, Benson appeared on Jack McDuff's Colour Me Blue album. Benson toured with Al Jarreau in America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to promote their 2006 album Givin' It Up. He played during the second Monsoon Cup in Terengganu in 2006 and also Malaysia's 50th Merdeka celebration alongside Jarreau in 2007.[citation needed] In May 2008, for the first time Benson took part in Mawazine Festival in Morocco.[citation needed]

To commemorate the long term relationship between Benson and Ibanez and to celebrate 30 years of collaboration on the GB Signature Models, Ibanez created the GB30TH, a very limited edition model featuring a gold foil finish inspired by the traditional Japanese Garahaku art form.[6] In 2009, Benson was recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts as a Jazz Master, the nations highest honor in Jazz.[7] Benson performed at the 49th issue of The Ohrid Summer Festival in Macedonia on July 25, 2009, and his tribute show to Nat King Cole "An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole" as part of the Istanbul International Jazz Festival in Turkey on July 27. In the fall of 2009, Benson finished recording a new album titled Songs and Stories, with Marcus Miller, producer John Burk,[8] and session musicians David Paich and Steve Lukather.[9] As a part of the promotion for his recent Concord Music Group/Monster Music release Songs and Stories, Benson has appeared and/or performed on The Tavis Smiley Show,[10] Jimmy Kimmel Live[11] and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[12]

He is currently touring and performing in support of his recent release Songs and Stories (Concord Music Group/Monster Music.[8]

Benson will tour throughout 2010 in North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim.

Discography

Albums

Year Album U.S. Pop U.S. R&B U.S. Jazz Label
1964 George Benson/Jack McDuff Prestige
The New Boss Guitar
1965 Benson Burner Columbia
1966 It's Uptown
The George Benson Cookbook
Willow Weep for Me CBS
1967 Blue Benson 23 Verve
1968 Giblet Gravy
Goodies
1969 Shape of Things to Come 38 11 A&M
Tell It Like It Is 145 43 16
The Other Side of Abbey Road 125 18
1970 I Got a Woman & Some Blues
1971 Beyond the Blue Horizon 15 CTI
1972 White Rabbit 7
1973 Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon, Vol. 1 Accord
Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon, Vol. 2
Witchcraft Jazz Hour
Body Talk 10 CTI
1974 Bad Benson 78 1
1976 Good King Bad 51 18 3
Benson & Farrell 100 27 3
Breezin' 1 1 1 Warner Bros.
1977 In Concert-Carnegie Hall 122 43 6 CTI
In Flight 9 2 1 Warner Bros.
1978 Space Album CTI
Weekend in L. A. 5 1 1 Warner Bros.
1979 Livin' Inside Your Love 7 4 1
Take Five CTI
1980 Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Give Me the Night 3 1 1 Warner Bros.
1981 GB CTI
The George Benson Collection 14 5 1 Warner Bros.
1983 In Your Eyes 27 6 1
Pacific Fire CTI
1984 20/20 45 20 3 Warner Bros.
Live in Concert Design
1985 The Electrifying George Benson Affinity
1986 While the City Sleeps... 77 21 8 Warner Bros.
1987 Collaboration (with Earl Klugh) 59 28 1
1988 Twice the Love 76 17 10
1989 Tenderly 140 1
1990 Big Boss Band 3
1991 Midnight Moods
1992 The Essence of George Benson Columbia
1993 Love Remembers 50 1 Warner Bros.
1994 The Most Exciting New Guitarist on the Jazz Scene Sony
1995 The Best of George Benson 14 Warner Bros.
1996 California Dreamin' Sony
Lil Darlin' Thunderbolt
That's Right 150 33 1 GRP
1998 Standing Together 47 1
Masquerade Thunderbolt
1999 The Masquerade Is Over Jazz Hour
2000 Live at Casa Caribe Columbia River
Absolute Benson 125 24 1 GRP
2001 All Blues Bianco
2002 Blue Bossa Prestige Elite
After Hours Universe
2003 Irreplaceable GRP
2003 The Greatest Hits of All 138 74 3 Rhino
2004 Golden Legends Live St. Clair
2005 Jazz After Hours with George Benson Performax
Best of George Benson Live 4 GRP
2006 Givin' It Up (with Al Jarreau) 58 14 1 Monster Music/Concord
2009 Songs And Stories 96 15 1 Monster Music/Concord

Singles

Year Title US US R&B UK[2]
1975 "Supership" 30
1976 "This Masquerade" 10 3
"Breezin'" 63 55
1977 "Everything Must Change" 34
"Nature Boy" 26
"Gonna Love You More" 71 41
"The Greatest Love of All" 24 2 27
1978 "On Broadway" 7 2
"Lady Blue" 39
1979 "Love Ballad" 18 3 29
"Unchained Melody" 55
1980 "Give Me the Night" 4 1 7
"Love X Love" 61 9 10
1981 "Love All the Hurt Away" (with Aretha Franklin) 46 6
"Turn Out the Lamplight" 33
"What's On Your Mind" 45
"Turn Your Love Around" 5 1 29
1982 "Never Give Up on a Good Thing" 52 16 14
1983 "Inside Love (So Personal)" 43 3 57
"Lady Love Me (One More Time)" 30 21 11
"Feel Like Makin' Love" 28
"In Your Eyes" 7
1984 "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You/Late At Night"
"20/20" 48 15 29
1985 "Beyond The Sea (La Mer)" 60
"I Just Wanna Hang Around You" 102 24
"New Day" 87
"No One Emotion"
1986 "Kisses in the Moonlight" 13 60
"Shiver" 16 19
1987 "Teaser" 45
1988 "Let's Do It Again" 8
1988 "Twice the Love" 23
1993 "Kiss and Make Up"
1998 "Standing Together" 62
2004 "Cell Phone"
2009 "Living in High Definition"
2010 "Nuthin' But A Party"

Quotation

I think music will change to the point where I am no longer compatible with it. A lot of the electronic things I don't like, you know - WHEEEEEE ! I don't think that's important at all. Things like that let me know that maybe I'm getting a little senile or something !

NME - July 1983[13]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e allmusic Biography
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 54. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Australian ABCTV Flashez interview Jan 1, 1977
  4. ^ a b VH1 - Artists bio
  5. ^ Ogerman website
  6. ^ "Ibanez.com". Ibanez.com. http://www.ibanez.com/Feature/gb30th. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  7. ^ National Endowment for the Arts (1943-03-22). "NEA Jazz Masters: George Benson, Vocalist and Solo Instrumentalist (Guitar)". Nea.gov. http://www.nea.gov/national/jazz/jmcms/master.php?id=2009_01. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  8. ^ a b "Biography". George Benson. 2009-08-25. http://georgebenson.com/?page_id=23. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  9. ^ Stevelukather.net
  10. ^ "Tavis Smiley . Shows . George Benson . October 6, 2009". PBS. 2009-10-06. http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/archive/200910/20091006_benson.html. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  11. ^ "Jimmy Kimmel Live Tomorrow Night, Wednesday Sep. 23!". George Benson. http://georgebenson.com/?p=377. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  12. ^ Mergner, Lee. "Jazz Articles: George Benson Appearing With The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Show — By Lee Mergner — Jazz Articles". Jazztimes.com. http://jazztimes.com/sections/news/articles/25312-george-benson-appearing-with-the-roots-on-late-night-with-jimmy-fallon-show. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  13. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 382. CN 5585. 

External links


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