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  1. Jimmy Kimmel Live Tomorrow Night, Wednesday Sep. 23!

    September 23, 2009 by admin

    Tune in to Jimmy Kimmel Live tomorrow night (Sep. 23) to see George perform throughout the show.


  2. LA Times Review

    September 11, 2009 by admin

    George Benson’s wish-list fulfillment

    The guitarist’s latest album features songs penned by some of his favorites; Bill Withers even adds a new one.

    By Chris Barton

    August 30, 2009

    After his Grammy nomination-dappled team-up with Al Jarreau, 2006’s “Givin’ It Up,” veteran guitarist George Benson again wanted to work with artists he had long admired. This time, he decided to pay tribute to some of his favorite songwriters from the worlds of jazz and R&B, so he and bassist/co-producer Marcus Miller put together a wish list of names. 



    Tracks from many of the writers on Benson’s dream roster, including Rod Temperton, Lamont Dozier and James Taylor, appear on his new collection “Songs and Stories,” which was released Tuesday Also featured, though, is one of the artists he and Miller considered a longshot at best: Bill Withers.

    

Landing the reclusive singer-songwriter, who’s been semiretired since the ’80s, wasn’t easy.



    “We hounded him!” admitted Benson, who’s due to perform at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Sept. 10 and at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on Sept. 12. “We had a nice breakfast with him one morning. . . . He came to the conclusion, ‘You know something, I haven’t done anything in years. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to approach writing today. But if I do, I’ll give you call.’

    “I had a feeling that he might,” Benson added with a laugh. “I knew it would be a privilege to work with him again and I knew he would not come up with anything ordinary.

    “

He didn’t. Withers eventually delivered the slinky ballad “A Telephone Call Away,” which in Benson’s hands became a breezy but spirited vocal duet with singer Lalah Hathaway. Granted, Benson’s butterscotch-smooth guitar tone is relegated to the sidelines on the song, to shine more light on Withers’ unique storytelling.

    

His playing, however, is at the forefront of one of the record’s standouts, a string-accented cover of Tony Joe White’s “Rainy Night in Georgia.” In a lengthy instrumental passage, Benson adds an elegant flourish to the song, a hit for Brook Benton in 1970.

    

”I never thought anyone would top that, and I don’t think we did either,” Benson admits. “My guitar solo I think is the thing that is my invention . . . [that] really makes the difference.

    “

Throughout the recording process, a number of Benson’s songwriting collaborators, such as Withers, Smokey Robinson and Steve Lukather, would stop by the studio to offer input. Benson said their perspectives proved invaluable.

    

”I’m getting ready to tell somebody else’s story, but I have to be authentic in the sense that I have to tell it the way that they meant it to be told,” he said. “And the only way I can get that is to go straight to the horse’s mouth.”




  3. Come In From The Cold Video

    September 10, 2009 by admin

    The making of video for Come In From The Cold is now live.  Enjoy.


  4. Twitter Fan?

    by admin

    For those of you that are fans of Twitter and are following @GBguitar, the Grammy Museum will be “tweeting” a play by play of tomorrow night’s event.  Follow @theGrammyMuseum for the updates.


  5. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight Video Uploaded

    September 4, 2009 by admin

    We just uploaded another video from the George Benson Sessions: The Making of Songs And Stories.  Enjoy.


  6. Los Angeles In Store Appearance and Signing

    September 2, 2009 by admin

    On Friday, September 11, 2009 at 7:00PM George will be appearing at Borders in Century City to promote and sign copies of his new record Songs And Stories.

    BORDERS
    10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA   90067
    310-552-1411


  7. In Store Appearance Tomorrow in Washington DC.

    August 29, 2009 by admin

    To celebrate the release of Songs And Stories, George Benson will be appearing at the Borders on 931A Capital Centre Blvd.  Largo, MD  20774 Saturday, August 29 at 5:00pm.


  8. American Express Presents An Evening With George Benson

    August 26, 2009 by admin

    Congratulations to James Higgins.  James won a pair of tickets to the Grammy Museum event on Thursday, September 10, 2009; 8:00pm

    George Benson

    Join Executive Director Robert Santelli as he interviews guitar legend and jazz master George Benson in the Museum’s state-of-the-art GRAMMY® Sound Stage. Before an intimate audience of 200, hear Benson in conversation about his storied career, musical influences, and new CD, Songs and Stories. After the interview, Benson will take questions from the audience.

    All proceeds benefit The GRAMMY Museum. American Express presale package is $35 and includes program tickets, a cocktail reception at The Farm of Beverly Hills at L.A. LIVE (7:00-8:00pm), and a copy of the album Songs and Stories. Tickets go on sale Thursday, August 13. Doors open at 6:30pm, so guests have the opportunity to tour the Museum beforehand. American Express is the exclusive payment method for presale packages.

    For more information visit the Grammy Museum website.


  9. Songs And Stories In Stores Now.

    August 25, 2009 by admin

    George Benson’s new CD shows

    warmth of his guitar and voice

    10:48 AM CDT on Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    By MARIO TARRADELL Music Critic mtarradell@dallasnews.com

    Ask George Benson whether he’s a guitarist or a vocalist first and he’ll simply answer, “Both.”

    “I put so much time on each instrument,” he says by phone from Paradise Valley, Ariz.

    Benson’s guitar playing is distinctive. He makes the six-string guitar sound fluid and soulfully jazzy. Like Carlos Santana, Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton, Benson’s picking is instantly recognizable.

    “I always try to play what I feel more than what I know,” he says. Then there’s his voice, a robust R&B timbre with the flexibility to scat one minute and croon the next.

    “I’ve always loved singing,” he says. “That was my first love. I know audiences and I know how to get that interest. Translating to record has been difficult, but we’ve done it.”

    And he’s done it many times. Classic George Benson albums include 1976’s Breezin’, 1978’s Weekend in L.A., 1980’s Give Me the Night, 1989’s Tenderly and 2006’s Givin’ It Up with Al Jarreau. Add Songs and Stories to the list.

    The just-released CD includes his take on James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” Zapp’s “Nuthin’ but a Party,” Tony Joe White’s “Rainy Night in Georgia” and a beautiful instrumental rendition of Christopher Cross’ “Sailing.” It also boasts fresh compositions from respected songwriters Rod Temperton (“Family Reunion”), Lamont Dozier (“Living in High Definition”) and Bill Withers (“A Telephone Call Away”).

    Like the man who plays and sings them, the tracks on Songs and Stories are sophisticated, rhythmic and full of Benson’s warm, charming demeanor.

    “I noticed that over the years my best and memorable songs are from great songwriters that understood what messages we wanted to bring across,” he says.

    “It all starts with one great song, like ‘Family Reunion’ by Rod Temperton, who wrote ‘Give Me the Night’ for me. The stories, the messages in the songs are essential. We picked guys we thought would make a difference.”

    Songs and Stories is similar to Benson’s 1970s and 1980s records in that it blends R&B, jazz and pop.

    While he was already mixing the three genres, it was with the Quincy Jones- produced Give Me the Night album that Pittsburgh-born Benson, 66, realized the power of blending those styles. Night netted him three of his 10 Grammy Awards.

    “Quincy raised an instrumental issue when we were making the Give Me the Night album,” Benson says. “He wanted to hit all those notes, and we did and we won Grammys. He wanted to make sure my records meant something in all those markets.”

    Songs and Stories, Give Me the Night and many of the others are the work of a man who erases the space separating his voice and his guitar.

    When talking about both instruments, Benson recalls the words of the late jazz organist Jimmy Smith.

    “He said, ‘I took my organ into my garage and I stayed there for months at a time and then one day everything I could think of, I could play, and I knew it was time to come out of the garage.’ ”

    Benson follows the same philosophy. Rehearsing is more like personalizing what he knows, bonding with his instrument.

    “That is what has kept my playing so fluid for years,” he says.

    “It all comes from the same source. When I’m playing, my guitar is my voice.”


  10. Telephone Call Away

    August 21, 2009 by admin

    The video for the making of Telephone Call Away is now live.  Enjoy.