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Jazz - Released January 1, 1970 | Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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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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Jazz - Released November 10, 1995 | Warner Records

Unlike Collection, Warner Bros.' second George Benson compilation Best of George Benson only draws from the label's own catalog, so by definition it is a less representative sampler. And even then, it does not give a thorough overview of Benson's 17-year tenure at Warner Bros. Understandably for a best-of album, it concentrates on such hot-selling Benson vocal hits as "This Masquerade," "Give Me the Night," "Turn Your Love Around" and "On Broadway." Yet there is not so much as a single instrumental -- which borders on the criminal -- nor anything from Benson's last five Warners albums, the last three of which (Tenderly, Big Boss Band, Love Remembers) contain a good deal of his best mature work, if not any hits. For those only interested in George Benson, chartmaker, this will do. Otherwise, pass right by. © 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