July 22, 2012 in Album of the Week
I have heard it argued that George Benson is the greatest jazz guitarist around today, though much of his music disguises what he’s truly capable of with his endless jazz guitar chops. Certainly he’s one of the very finest jazz guitarists out there. He’s had a stellar career as a music superstar, guitarist, and vocalist, but make no mistake, G.B. is a BURNING jazz guitarist at his core. He is as talented as they come.
Benson’s 2011 album “Guitar Man” has a good variety on it. It has several tracks that really show off his abilities on the jazz guitar (“Tenderly,” My One and Only Love,” and “Naima” for instance). Of course, this album also demonstrates his ability to really groove that has made him so popular with audiences worldwide. George Benson is a music superstar who has transcended jazz audiences to reach out to the larger public.
This is definitely a fun album. It’s very accessible to all audiences, and it’s really nice to hear a few tracks that really show off his jazz abilities in addition to some of his more commercial tracks. George is also a killer vocalist. I particularly dig his vocal work on “My One and Only Love.”
There are many jazz aficionados, myself included, that would love to see a Benson album of just straight-ahead jazz guitar. Many of his earlier jazz recordings were poorly recorded. Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to see an entire album of that nature any time soon from Mr. Benson, but this album has enough straight-ahead material to demonstrate what he is capable of. It’s nice to hear several jazz standards on the album. ”Naima” is probably my favorite track on the album. George Benson is a serious threat on the jazz guitar, and this track gives us a 3 minute taste of what he can do when he really goes for it. I’d love to hear an entire album of Benson where he just decides to stretch the envelope and hear what he comes up with.
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