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  1. USA Today: The year in music.

    December 28, 2013 by admin

    Thank you to Elysa Gardner from USA Today for the inclusion of Inspiration in her year end top list.

    Click here to read the list.


  2. 2014 Summer UK Tour

    December 6, 2013 by admin

    George Benson will be performing his Greatest Hits live this June in the UK.  Tickets are now available here.


  3. Australian Tour Press

    August 27, 2013 by admin

    Melbourne

    The Inspiration tour hits Australia to glowing reviews.

    Mercury (Hobart) 15.8.13

    Courier Mail Brisbane 17.8.13

    West Australian 21.8.13


  4. Summer Shows, BBC Breakfast

    July 9, 2013 by admin

    Catch George throughout the summer  as he visits and performs in Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Tunisia, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan and China.  Stay up to date on all shows here.

    George recently paid a visit to our friends at BBC Breakfast.  In cased you missed it, you can view it here.


  5. Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole. Set for release June 4, 2013

    May 30, 2013 by admin

    After four years of touring and developing “An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole,” the legendary George Benson makes his most inspired album: Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole.  Set for release June 4, 2013, this recording is one of the most meaningful of Benson’s career and is a testament to the spirit of Cole’s timeless body of work. Benson’s heartfelt renditions of some of Cole’s greatest songs with Nelson Riddle arrangements and the 42-piece Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra are complemented by duets with Tony Award winner Idina Menzel and rising star Judith Hill, along with a special collaboration with multi-GRAMMY and Pulitzer Prize-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

    Speaking on recording the album Benson says, “I felt every moment of it. You can’t put together a record like this without putting your heart into it. I got that from Nat King Cole. He put his heart into everything he did.”

    The careers of Benson and Cole share a similar arc, both establishing themselves first as highly respected instrumentalists before skyrocketing to crossover success once they began sharing their unforgettable voices with the world. Better known as a jazz pianist first, Nat King Cole’s major breakthrough came in 1943 when he added his melting baritone voice to “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” coincidentally the same year of George Benson’s birth. Benson, who had a well-established career as one of the world’s top jazz guitarists, made his major break in the pop world by singing “This Masquerade” and subsequently had the first jazz album to go platinum with Breezin. Yet, both of these remarkable artists remained true to their jazz roots as this album revels with 12 covers of Cole’s most endearing repertoire.

    As a dream project for Benson, this album is a love letter to Cole and a tribute in gratitude for his deep musical inspiration.  It also demonstrates how uniquely suited Benson is to recreate and interpret these timeless treasures. Highlights on the album include an adaptation of Nelson Riddle’s arrangement of “Just One of Those Things,” with a signature Benson vocal/guitar scat solo, and Benson’s reading of the original chart of “Nature Boy,” which he previously interpreted and made and a pop hit in the late 70’s.  The album also contains stunning duets with Idina Menzel on “When I Fall In Love,” and Judith Hill on “Too Young,” as well the incomparable trumpet work of Wynton Marsalis on a fresh new arrangement of “Unforgettable.”

    The album begins with a rare recording of “Little Georgie Benson” (age 8) singing “Mona Lisa” which stemmed from a singing contest Benson won and the award was the opportunity to record a song at a recording studio. Benson began singing Nat King Cole songs as a child in Pittsburgh and this recording not only shows his incredible range and musicality at the time but also the depth of admiration Benson has had for Cole from such a young age.

    Perhaps best know for his contemporary popular music – in multiple genres, Benson has become as iconic in music history as his musical hero Nat King Cole. Creating more than 30 recordings as a leader, winning ten10 Grammy Awards as well as becoming a NEA Jazz Master, George Benson has used his jazz roots as the foundation for an engaging mix of pop, R&B and other shades that add up to a style that appeals to a broad mainstream audience. Along the way, he has also established himself as a formidable singer – one whose biggest career hits have showcased his vocals as well as his guitar chops. Benson continues to astound and engage audiences taking his creative expression to new heights. A soulful interpretation, Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole is an exemplary work of art, giving reverence to the legacy of jazz and a fitting tribute to an American icon.

    For information on tour dates please visit georgebenson.com/tourdates

     

    Complete Track Listing

    • Mona Lisa (Little GB)
    • Just One of Those Things
    • Unforgettable
    • Walkin’ My Baby
    • When I Fall In Love
    • Route 66
    • Nature Boy
    • Ballerina
    • Smile
    • Straighten Up and Fly Right
    • Too Young
    • I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself  A Letter
    • Mona Lisa

  6. Nat King Cole tribute album – Pledge Music

    January 5, 2013 by admin

    I’m recording a new Nat King Cole tribute album with an orchestra and would love for you to be a part of it!

    I’ve had the idea to record an album featuring the music of Nat King Cole for quite some time now. Thanks to my long history with Concord Records, together we arranged an amazing 42 piece orchestra to make a record I’m really passionate about.Since this is a very unique and special project to me and I am blessed by many good friends who have supported me along the way, I wanted to give my fans a chance to take part in something unique and special, too. So, instead of the traditional ‘making of’ DVD or a few extra bonus tracks, Concord Records and I have teamed up with PledgeMusic to give you an opportunity to participate in some exclusive offers only available here.I will personally autograph CDs and Vinyl. You can get your name listed in the album artwork! You can even purchase my newly developed Ibanez LGB300 signature guitar which I’ll personally sign for you over a Skype chat!A lot of these offerings are limited edition and aren’t even printed yet, so all you have to do for now is ‘Pledge’ and your credit card won’t be charged until the bar at the top of the page hits 100%. And just for Pledging, you’ll gain access to behind the scenes information on the making of the album including exclusive videos and updates along the way.And I want you to know that a portion of all proceeds will be donated to the victims of Hurricane Sandy through our friends at Music Cares.

    Thank you for being a part of this special project and I can’t wait for you to hear this record!

    – George

     


  7. Fender Signature Amp

    October 3, 2012 by admin

    Image

    Signature amp and cab especially fine-tuned for jazz guitarist George Benson

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Oct. 1, 2012) — It is with great pride that Fender announces the release of the GB Hot Rod Deluxe comboand GB Hot Rod Deluxe 112 Enclosure – two elegant performance machines designed in close collaboration with Grammy Award-winning jazz guitar virtuoso George Benson.

    “When I plug my guitar through this amplifier, it gives me everything I’m looking for: punch, power and tonality,” said Benson. “The fact that Fender allowed me to design the covering and the amplifier’s looks is outstanding.”

    Meticulously engineered, the GB Hot Rod Deluxe is a striking 40-watt 1×12 combo outfitted in a gray-black vinyl covering, silver-strand grille cloth and a classy GB logo badge. It has the full bottom-end characteristic of 6L6 tubes, and a versatile all-tube preamp including a 12AT7 up front for cleaner tone, especially with humbucking pickups. A 100-watt Jensen® C12K speaker handles the immediacy of Benson’s singing soloing style with clarity and range, and the solid-pine cabinet increases tonal resonance while reducing weight.

    The GB Hot Rod Deluxe 112 Enclosure mates perfectly with the GB Hot Rod Deluxe combo, and adds fullness bass response and wider stage coverage. It is a closed-back cab neatly dressed in gray-black vinyl covering and silver-strand grille cloth with a GB logo badge, and is equipped with a Jensen C12K 100-watt speaker and solid pine construction for lighter weight.

    “Just to have my name on these is enough prestige for a guitar player from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” Benson quipped.


  8. Chicago Times Show Review

    April 5, 2012 by admin

    He’s still got it.

    Though his 70th birthday arrives next year, singer-guitarist George Benson epitomized youth and exuberance Friday night at the Chicago Theatre, where he tore through his hits at faster tempos and higher energy levels than a large and enthusiastic audience may have been expecting.

    Better than that, Benson somehow found new insights in very old songs, delivering them with a freshness one doesn’t often encounter from major performers who have been revisiting their classics incessantly through the decades.

    Yet Benson was ill served by a harsh, over-amplified sound system that often denied listeners the opportunity to savor the subtleties of a richly nuanced, gravelly voice. Throughout his intermissionless set, Benson frequently found himself competing with an over-miked band, its waves of sound washing over the voice that everyone had come to hear.

    Not that Benson himself was particularly pleased with his vocal work early in the show.

    “I’m just warming up, you guys,” Benson told the crowd at one point. “My voice ain’t there yet — but it’s gonna’ get there!”

    Actually, inasmuch as one could focus on Benson’s vocals amid the din, he proved musically quite effective from the outset, though definitely somewhat raspy of tone. But in performers of Benson’s vintage, the inexorable deepening and darkening of an instrument often adds to its appeal, bringing new colors and textures to a voice already quite familiar around the world. Certainly that was the case this time.

    Benson ostensibly was performing in support of his newest release, the aptly titled “Guitar Man,” but the show dipped just sporadically into that repertoire, instead amounting to something of a greatest-hits parade. When the hits come from Benson’s lips and lungs, however, they’re worth hearing once again.

    Exactly how Benson managed to find so much more to say in the inevitable “On Broadway” – which gave the evening an extended, grand finale – might have been a mystery, except for one incontrovertible fact: Before Benson became a crossover star he was a hard-core jazz musician and, in many ways, he remains one.

    So Benson improvised melodic flourishes and melismatic turns of phrase, taking “On Broadway” away from its familiar contours and reshaping it to suit the moment. Though this performance lacked the thrilling, sustained, unstoppable crescendo of the famous recording, Benson’s spontaneous re-imagining of “On Broadway” offered something else: vocal and guitar fireworks with an intensity and heat that simply never let up.

    Earlier in the evening, Benson appeared to surprise his audience – judging by its muted response – with “Moody’s Mood,” a tour de force of jazz singing. Artistically, this was a high point of the evening, Benson referencing his jazz credentials with a profoundly personal response to saxophonist James Moody’s classic “Moody’s Mood for Love.” Here was a melody line that bounded up and down the scale with abandon, Eddie Jefferson’s celebrated lyrics applied to Moody’s intricate saxophone solo. Only the most accomplished jazz vocalists dare sing the tune – particularly in the wake of Moody’s own revered version – but Benson finessed its twists and turns with seeming effortlessness and a distinctive interpretation.

    Benson also looked back to more of his hits, from the buoyant guitar work of “Breezin'” to the imploring vocals of “Turn Your Love Around” to the slow-and-soulful musings of “This Masquerade,” the latter performed with palpable fervor.

    Throughout, Benson made his way around his guitar quite dexterously, but especially in an unlikely version of the folk song “Danny Boy” (from the “Guitar Man” album), his poetic solos – complete with twangy notes and droning pedal points – evoking a distant time and place.

    hreich@tribune.com

    Twitter @howardreich


  9. Guitar Man wins NAACP Award for Best Jazz Album

    February 27, 2012 by admin

    awards show

    Congratulations to all that made Guitar Man, the Best Jazz Album at the 43rd Annual NAACP Awards show.


  10. 43rd NAACP Image Awards

    January 20, 2012 by admin

    Congratulations to all involved in the making of Guitar Man.  It was announced today that Guitar Man has been nominated for Outstanding Jazz Album.  Catch the broadcast on Feb. 17 LIVE 8/7C on NBC.

    More info on the awards can be viewed here.