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Pop - Released July 16, 1980 | Rhino - Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
This is the peak of George Benson's courtship of the mass market -- a superbly crafted and performed pop album with a large supporting cast -- and wouldn't you know that Quincy Jones, the master catalyst, is the producer. Q's regular team, including the prolific songwriter Rod Temperton and the brilliant engineer Bruce Swedien, is in control, and Benson's voice, caught beautifully in the rich, floating sound, had never before been put to such versatile use. On "Moody's Mood," Benson really exercises his vocalese chops and proves that he is technically as fluid as just about any jazz vocalist, and he become a credible rival to Al Jarreau on the joyous title track. Benson's guitar now plays a subsidiary role -- only two of the ten tracks are instrumentals -- but Q has him play terrific fills behind the vocals and in the gaps, and the engineering gives his tone a variety of striking, new, full-sounding timbres. The instrumentals themselves are marvelous: "Off Broadway" is driving and danceable, and Ivan Lins' "Dinorah, Dinorah" grows increasingly seductive with each play. Benson should have worked with Jones from this point on, but this would be their only album together. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1978 | 143 - Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
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Pop - Released January 15, 1985 | WM Japan

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
George Benson certainly is a good soul vocalist, fervently turning every phrase as if he meant every lovelorn syllable. Here on 20/20, though, he is shackled by stale pop/soul sentiments and one hack arrangement after another, assembled in no less than 17 studios! Russ Titelman, who shows only a flickering awareness of Benson's huge talent, is the producer, spelled twice by the even more commercial Michael Masser. The only bright spots are the tense high-tech title track and -- surprise -- an elegant Count Basie-like treatment of "Beyond the Sea," and with several jazz luminaries in the all-star band and Frank Foster and Ralph Burns handling the chart. There's only one instrumental, "Stand Up," and it ain't much. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 15, 1979 | Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The success of Weekend in L.A. no doubt prompted producer Tommy LiPuma and Warner Bros. to give George Benson another double album (now on one CD) -- and this, like its three Warner predecessors, also went Top Ten. It is also, alas, slicker, more romantic in mood, and more bound by perceptions of formula than the others, fussed over in three different studios in earnest search of another hit single (the dance-tempo cover of L.T.D.'s "Love Ballad"). Most of the touring band, including Ronnie Foster, Ralph MacDonald and Phil Upchurch, is back, and Claus Ogerman's soft symphonic touch provides most of the backdrops, with Mike Mainieri supplying the orchestra on three tracks. Even at this point, the great guitarist is still given much room to burn -- the balance between instrumentals and vocals remains close -- and Benson comes up with some tasty stuff when the rhythm section pushes him on "Nassau Day" and "You're Never Too Far from Me." Ultimately there is just enough jazz content amid the velvet soul to keep guitar buffs interested. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 18, 1983 | Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
In search of more platinum, Benson turned to one-time Atlantic Records ace producer Arif Mardin for support. Yet Mardin's best days seemed to be behind him, as this mostly routine package of period R&B backbeats, synthesizer rhythm tracks, and love songs indicates. Any competent soul vocalist could have fit in comfortably here. For jazz fans, Benson's albums at this point became a search for buried treasure, for his guitar time was extremely limited. But when you do encounter a Benson solo, hang on tight. "Love Will Come Again," otherwise a routine soul bumper, concludes with a magnificent solo in octaves that Wes Montgomery would have envied, breathtaking in its economy and swing. Also, check out the instrumental "In Search of a Dream" for proof that George Benson could still burn. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 18, 1993 | Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Pop - Released September 7, 1990 | Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This project had its genesis back in 1983 with a Benson promise to Count Basie that he would record an album in his style, a promise partially fulfilled the following year with 20/20's "Beyond the Sea." Focusing on standards that steer commendably clear from tunes normally associated with Basie, Benson takes on the dual challenge of big-band singer and lead guitarist and succeeds with authority in both roles. The robust playing of the Basie band under Frank Foster poses absolutely no problems for Benson's muscular guitar, for he punches out the notes and octaves in irresistibly swinging fashion (for prime mature Benson, check out "Basie's Bag"). As a vocalist, he sounds solid and debonair, blending well with Basie vocalist Carmen Bradford on "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" There are two deviations from the format, though. "Baby Workout" starts out as an electronic dance number, augmented by horns, that harks back to his run of routine '80s albums. The sole Robert Farnon-arranged track, a lush orchestral treatment of "Portrait of Jennie" recorded in London, was salvaged from an aborted project that was promised back in 1988. Clearly Benson had wrestled control of his music from the accountants, and though the direction is conservative, it makes better use of his talents. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1986 | Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The transformation of George Benson, guitar icon, into George Benson, pop singer, is completed here, on While the City Sleeps, for there are no instrumentals at all on this hard-sell, synth-laden series of ballads and dance tunes. This is marginally better than 20/20, for at least Michael Walden's high-tech production (with added tracks by Kashif and Tommy LiPuma) has more punch, and the material, though still mostly lame, is easier to take. There is very little guitar to be heard, and what little there is can usually be found hidden behind Benson's scatting or the pulsating electronics. The best bet for ferreting out some strong guitar is on "Love Is Here Tonight," but it's deep within the mix. For those who care, an animated Kenny G turns up on "Did You Hear Thunder." © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Pop - Released August 29, 1988 | Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Pop - Released February 27, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Records

The Ultimate Collection is quite different from the two-disc George Benson overviews that preceded it, including The George Benson Anthology. Like that 2000-released set, this one was also issued through Rhino, though there are only 17 tracks of overlap. The Ultimate Collection has even less in common with Legacy's The Essential George Benson (2006), which naturally favors Benson's Columbia and CTI output. The heart here is 1976-1983, an era during which Benson recorded for Warner and was regularly listed in the Top Ten of the Billboard R&B singles chart. All of those tremendous major hits are here, as are some less popular but solid A-sides and deeper cuts from that period. Only one selection, "White Rabbit," predates the 1976 commercial breakthrough "Breezin'," while several of Benson's varied albums from 20/20 through Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole, released on Warner, GRP, and Concord, among other labels, are represented in some form. The smart selections, along with the liner notes, make for a fine representation of Benson's career from the late '70s through 2013. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 14, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Records

In order to produce what it thought would be a definitive two-LP retrospective on George Benson, Warner Bros. raided not only its own archives but also those of A&M, Arista, and CTI. For added sales appeal, Warners inserted two new recordings, one of which ("Turn Your Love Around") became another huge hit single, rising to number five on the pop charts. As of 2008, Collection remained the most inclusive Benson sampler, though far from a definitive one due in part to the scarcity of instrumentals. Of course, the big Warner Bros. vocal hits are here ("This Masquerade," "On Broadway," "Give Me the Night"), plus an artistic triumph like "Moody's Mood," but only one WB instrumental ("Breezin'") can be heard. From Arista, it's strictly pop: "The Greatest Love of All" and the duet with Aretha Franklin, "Love All the Hurt Away." The A&M choices "Last Train to Clarksville" and "Here Comes the Sun" could have been better, but the two CTIs, "White Rabbit" and the great "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," are excellent representatives. Unfortunately, when it came time to squeeze Collection onto one CD, Warners in its corporate wisdom chose to delete one cut -- and wouldn't you know, it was "Cast Your Fate"! In other words, hunt for the LPs. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 10, 1995 | Warner Records

Anyone who despaired about the total lack of instrumentals on Warners' unrepresentative The Best of George Benson will be overjoyed by this sequel, Best of George Benson: The Instrumentals, which contains nothing but instrumentals (that may have been the game plan all along). Admittedly, the instrumental pickings in the Warner catalog are slimmer than, say, those for Benson's pre-"This Masquerade" recordings on CBS/CTI and A&M/Verve, and the style is often slanted toward the kind of easy jazz heard on "The Wave" radio format. But Benson could still create funky fireworks with his guitar on tunes like "Dinorah, Dinorah," "Affirmation," and "Weekend in L.A.," and Benson's off-the-cuff fluency is shown off to stunning effect all alone on "Tenderly." The range of albums is more inclusive than that of the earlier set, spanning Benson's long Warner period and even reaching out to the funky-butt title track from his first GRP album, That's Right. If you combine this album and the vocal Best Of collection, you'll get an excellent summary of George Benson over a span of 20 years. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released February 23, 1995 | CBS Associated

This little-known CTI recording matches guitarist George Benson and Joe Farrell, a multi-reed player who mostly sticks to flute. Joined by a large rhythm section and sometimes two other flutists (including Eddie Daniels), Benson and Farrell play four originals by session arranger Dave Matthews, plus the standard "Old Devil Moon." This pleasing if not all that memorable instrumental date was recorded right after Benson's Breezin' (and before its release), ending the guitarist's CTI period right before he became a vocal star. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 25, 2012 | Newborn

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Rock - Released October 30, 2015 | Reviver Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Concord Records