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Blues - Released April 26, 2019 | Provogue Records

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From his origins as Wes Montgomery’s worthy heir to the funky Give Me the Night, his cover of On Broadway, his partnering with Al Jarreau, his participation on the Gorillaz’s The Now Now and his tributes to Nat King Cole, George Benson has always shown that he handles large tasks with ease. But above all, he remains one of the best jazz guitarists of his generation, whatever the style. At 76 years old, the funky virtuoso from Pittsburgh pays homage to the Mecca of music, New Orleans, and two pioneers of rock’n’roll that were lost to the world in 2017, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. The record features ten covers by the two geniuses that George Benson performs with a sense of refinement. His bluesy style and ferocious skill are even held back slightly. In its place the guitarist offers a tribute of class, temperance and subtlety. ©Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 3, 2020 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released April 26, 2019 | Provogue Records

Following up 2013's urbane Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole, George Benson returns with another tribute production, 2019's ebullient Walking to New Orleans: Remembering Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. Interestingly, while Benson is best known for his funky instrumental jazz of the '70s and '80s, and smooth R&B crooning of the '80s and '90s, both of these latter-career tributes find him tackling material from even older traditions. Where Inspiration was a lushly swinging standards album, Walking to New Orleans is all blues grit and old-school R&B swagger. Though primarily influenced by jazz artists like Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian, Benson certainly owes at least a modicum of his soulful style to early rock legends Berry and Domino, both of whom helped shape the sound of modern rock and pop music. As Benson grew up in Pittsburgh, the album's title evokes a conceptual travelogue as he moves from the Midwest through Berry's home state of Missouri, all the way down South to Domino's hometown of New Orleans. To help achieve this rootsy trek, Benson worked with producer Kevin Shirley (John Hiatt, Aerosmith, Joe Bonamassa) at Nashville's Ocean Way Studios, where he also conscripted the assistance of pros like drummer/music director Greg Morrow, guitarist Rob McNelley, pianist Kevin McKendree, and bassist Alison Prestwood. The results are loose and straightforward as Benson (primarily showcased here as a singer) takes on Berry favorites like "Walking," "Nadine (Is It You?)," and "Memphis, Tennessee," as well as Domino hits like "Ain't That a Shame," "I Heart You Knocking," and "Blue Monday." These are earthy and robust productions that never stray too far afield of their rock & roll source. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 13, 2020 | Provogue Records

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Recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in 2019, Weekend in London captures legendary singer/guitarist George Benson in an intimate performance that marks his first official concert recording in 30 years. Produced by Kevin Shirley, the album finds Benson framed in illustrious fashion, backed by a funky jazz ensemble, strings, and a horn section. In many ways, the record brings to mind his classic 1978 live album Weekend in L.A. and finds him reinvestigating many of his most beloved recordings. The album opens with an effusive take on his 1980 hit "Give Me the Night" that perfectly sets the tone for the vintage '70s and early-'80s soul-jazz vibes that follow. We get equally inspired readings of cuts like "Turn Your Love Around," "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You," and "Never Give Up on a Good Thing." Benson also dips into his varied catalog, offering a rendition of Dave Bartholomew's "I Hear You Knocking" off his 2019 album Walking to New Orleans: Remembering Chuck Berry and Fats Domino, as well as a stirring take on Donny Hathaway's "The Ghetto," which he first covered on 2000's Absolute Benson. Although 76 years old at the time of recording, Benson sounds as engaged as ever, even as his bright tenor croon has gained just a modicum of grit and gravitas in the years since Weekend in L.A. marked him as an R&B superstar. Weekend in London is a fitting showcase for Benson's smooth jazz skills and a further reminder of his soulful legacy. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Blues - Released March 28, 2019 | Provogue Records