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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Friday, November 6, 2020

Provogue Records artist: George Benson - Weekend In London - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Weekend In London, from George Benson and it's a solid show. Opening the show, one of Benson's biggest sellers, Give Me The Night which not only showcases his famous vocal work but also his incomparable guitar work. Benson grew up in my home town (Pittsburgh) and continues to play his mix of traditional and contemporary jazz. Love X Love is a another lightly funky track with that fluid guitar soloing that is so trademark Benson. He is gotten miles of publicity for his smooth, soulful vocals but it's his incredible chops that get me going and this track has it. Backed by Randy Waldman on keys, Stanley Banks on bass, Thom Hall on keys, Michael O'Neil on guitars and Khari Parker on drums, he can do it all.  New Orleans R&B singer Dave Bartholomew's I Hear You Knocking, made popular more recently by Dave Edmunds gets a warm R&B cover and is always a crowd pleaser. James Taylor's Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight is a terrific track and Benson's cover has a real nice feel. It's not just what he does vocally but his guitar phrasing is absolutely beautiful. James Moody's, Moody's Mood is the hidden gem on this release with Benson breaking away from the vocal style that made him popular and showing his incredible improvisational style, joined by Lilliana De Los Reyes. Very nice! One of my absolute favorite instrumental tracks from Benson's "popular" period is Affirmation, from his Breezin' release and his guitar runs are clean, fresh and indisputable. Should we riff on it... 7 minutes flies by! Closing the release is Cruise Control with Benson's signature guitar/scat soloing and tight drums work by Parker. Electric piano work by Waldman adds a bright texture but this is classic late period Benson showing why he's still in high demand. Very nice. 

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