1. Royal Albert Hall – Show Review

    June 29, 2012 by admin

    George Benson - Royal Albert Hall - London 2012

    George Benson, Albert Hall – review

    Backed by a meaty, well-drilled group, Benson delivers a judicious mixture of jazz standards and the big-selling lurve-songs his fans demand.

    Jack Massarik

    Photo Credit: Nanni Zedda

    It takes a true star to fill the Royal Albert Hall on a European Cup semi-final night, something George Benson achieved with customary aplomb. True, the majority of his fans are female and of certain ages but most of their menfolk were also present.

    By the close everybody was out of their seats and swaying to the Benson beat with an upstanding, body-popping, hand-clapping abandon that would have astonished their osteopaths.

    Earlier, American trumpeter Christian Scott had smartly opened the show with a Dizzy Gillespie tip-tilted trumpet and a terrific drummer named Jamire Willliams in his youthful quartet. They deserved more than their 45 minutes in the spotlight.

    George himself appeared a little thicker around the waist than usual but gave a thoroughly compelling performance, singing and simultaneously playing guitar as soulfully and creatively as only he can.

    His current album, Guitar Man, is supposed to signal a return to the jazz fold but in large venues like this, commercial factors also apply.

    Backed by a meaty, well-drilled group featuring two keyboards, bass, rhythm guitar and drums, Benson paced the evening cleverly, delivering a judicious mixture of jazz standards and the big-selling lurve-songs his fans demand.

    Moody’s Mood for Love, Breezin’, Mambo Inn and This Masquerade — a particularly powerful version — were thus interleaved with Turn Your Love Around, In Your Eyes, Never Give Up on a Good Thing and other soul hits, climaxing inevitably with Gimme the Night.

    At this point a nearby hen-party of five mature ladies with complicated hairdos began jiving in line abreast. There’ll be some sore ankles in Epping this evening.

  2. European Summer Tour

    February 27, 2012 by admin


    We just added a tour dates for this summer’s European tour with stops in the UK, Paris, Stuttgart and Hungary.  More information can be found here.

  3. Guitar Man – New album, free download and new tour dates!

    August 8, 2011 by admin

    Guitar Man is out on October 4, 2011! It’s available to pre order now on Amazon. Click here to check it out on Amazon.

    Guitar Man will also be available at iTunes on October 4, 2011 + there will be a special deluxe edition with bonus tracks available only at Best Buy, also on October 4!

    Enter your email address above to get a free MP3 download of “Danny Boy” from George’s upcoming album Guitar Man

    For Immediate Release – On October 4, 2011, National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master and Grammy-winning legend George Benson brings his guitar to the forefront in his newest album Guitar Man. The 12-song collection includes a mix of jazz and pop standards – some in a combo setting and some solo, but all of them tied together seamlessly by Benson’s soulful and exploratory signature sound. Lending a hand on this recording is a solid team made up of veterans and newcomers alike – pianist Joe Sample, keyboardist and musical director David Garfield, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Harvey Mason. Williams is one of the hottest up-and-coming new artists on the jazz scene. Mason is a regular member of Fourplay, and a studio collaborator with Benson all the way back to Benson’s 1976 blockbuster album, Breezin’.

    In a career that spans five decades, more than 30 recordings as a leader and ten Grammy Awards, 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 jazz singer – one whose biggest career hits have showcased his vocals. But Guitar Man is just what the title implies – an album that highlights Benson’s unparalleled guitar playing, perhaps more than any other album he has released in decades.

    For the new project, the crew came together in the studio with a minimum of prior rehearsal time but an eagerness to jump in and lay down tracks in something very close to the live experience – what Benson describes as an “old school” approach. The impromptu sensibility comes across in the final product, much of which came together with minimal takes in a single day of recording.

    “We figured that we would get the best energy if we went into the studio with some live musicians who are savvy and flexible,” says Benson, “and boy, did we accomplish that.”

    On Guitar Man, Benson’s mastery of the guitar is demonstrated in a variety of styles and settings, all with legendary jazz roots. The opening track “Tenderly” is a solo guitar track that serves as a reminder that Benson is one guitar man with sufficient technical and interpretive skills to be a band unto himself. The second song is an intriguing rendition of Lennon and McCartney’s “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Along with Benson on nylon-string guitar and Garfield on piano are guitarists Paul Jackson Jr. and Ray Fuller; bassist Freddie Washington; drummer Oscar Seaton, Jr. (who regularly tours with Benson); violinist Charlie Bisharat; and flutist/clarinetist Dan Higgins. All come together to create a fully orchestrated sound that casts one of the most simplistic of the Beatles’ early love ballads into something full-bodied and engaging.

    The remainder of the set consists of either solo guitar tracks or Benson backed by the aforementioned five-man team, which lays down an easygoing rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour.” Benson delivers the lyrics in his own engaging vocal style that includes a healthy dose of his trademark scatting guitar accompaniment.

    Other highlights include a rollicking version of the Champs’ 1958 instrumental hit, “Tequila,” followed a couple tracks later by “My One and Only Love,” which opens with a 16-bar solo jazz guitar intro that segues into a sweet vocal ballad. Benson delivers a playful straightahead rendition of “Paper Moon” with the quartet, followed by a solo guitar rendition of “Danny Boy” (one of the few times, if ever, that a guitar sounds like bagpipes). In the final stretch, Benson and Garfield set up a lush guitar-and-piano arrangement of the smoky standard, “Since I Fell For You,” with Benson once again stepping up to the mic for an emotional delivery of the song’s impassioned lyrics.

    Benson has never been one to shy away from innovation or experimentation. For this guitar man, putting a jazz spin on pop standards – not just on this recording but throughout his career – is less of a taboo when you’re willing to dispense with labels and the limitations that come with them.

    “People categorize things because they need to find someplace to put them on their shelf,” he says. “It’s all music to me. I think a lot of pop tunes that were very big in the United States many years ago were recorded by jazz musicians playing in the background. Most of the Motown records were recorded that way. Those guys were jazz musicians who were living in Detroit and were called to do a job, and they did it very well…I try to do the same thing. I try to make it sound like it’s natural, because to me it is. There are only two kinds of music, good and bad. There are a lot of things in between, but they’re eventually going to fall on one side or the other of that equation.”

    George Benson will be touring in support of Guitar Man. The live shows will feature Benson’s masterful guitar playing, and Benson and his band will be performing classic George Benson hits along with an acoustic presentation of a few songs from Guitar Man.

    Confirmed dates below (additional dates TBA):

    Oct. 1 – Austin, TX – The Riverbend Centre

    Oct. 2 – St. Louis, MO – Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, University of MO

    Oct. 14 – Phoenix, AZ – Sage Court, JW Marriott

    Oct. 16 – Atlanta, GA – Symphony Hall

    Oct. 19 – Englewood, NJ – Bergen Performing Arts Center

    Oct. 20 – Morristown, NJ – Morristown Civic Center

    Oct. 21 – New York City, NY – Town Hall

    Oct. 23 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre

    Click here for a  free download of “Danny Boy” from Guitar Man.

  4. Sydney Opera House

    July 2, 2010 by admin

    scarlet-night_-sydney-opera-houseGeorge will be teaming up with the Sydney Symphony bringing his tribute show, An Unforgettable Tribute To Nat King Cole, to the Sydney Opera House this November for 3 consecutive nights of nights. -mgmt

  5. Tour Update

    June 9, 2010 by admin


    We are currently finalizing a summer tour throughout Europe and Africa along with a run of dates in Australia this November.  New dates can be found here.

  6. New tour dates

    April 8, 2010 by admin

    We just added a few new shows to our summer schedule.  Chicago in August and Curacao in September.  Check out all of the dates here.

  7. The Sunday Independent – Cape Town

    April 6, 2010 by admin

    By Atiyyah Khan

    A charismatic George Benson thrilled journalists with stories, speaking openly and with ease on his arrival at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, taking a trip down memory lane.

    He described his earliest days as a musician, as a “speed-demon” guitarist, and traced how it was that he learnt to slow down.

    “I see a whole new South Africa. It’s nice to see the sun shining on a lot of people’s faces here, it’s a warm feeling and a whole fresh new vibe.”

    Benson was honoured with an official multi-platinum award from Universal Music for Africa for sales of more than half-a-million units and a gold award from Warner Music Gallo for the Givin’ It Up album he recorded with Al Jarreau.

    “I told my manager to call Al Jarreau and let him know that something very special is going to go down in South Africa and congratulate him, so can I take that back to him? I really thank you for this award.”

    With a sold-out Cape Town jazz festival, more than 16 000 jazz fanatics were due to attend the first night of the festival last night, where Benson was to play with a 28-piece orchestra in a tribute to Nat King Cole.

    “(Cole) brought a lot of class to African-American musicians, at the time going through some challenges in the US. His music was some of the biggest crossover of his time, and it’s still fresh and high-class today.”

    Benson is one of the few musicians who get to play on both days of the festival. One of his musical highlights, he says, was being commended by Sinatra.

    “I found out he was a gigantic fan of my voice. I was like, ‘Can anybody say anything else to me now’?”

  8. Tour Update

    February 25, 2010 by admin

    We just updated the tour dates section with 7 shows in the UK at the end of May and first week of June as well as new dates in Concord, CA and Kansas City, MO.

    For more info click here.

  9. November 30 Kosice, Slovakia

    September 25, 2009 by admin

    Just added:  George will be performing on November 30 in Kosice, Slovakia at the Infinity Arena.  Stay tuned for more European Winter 09 tour dates.

  10. New Tour Dates

    September 17, 2009 by admin

    We are excited to announce a show on Oct. 22, 2009 in Westbury, NY as well as a string of dates throughout Europe and the Middle East.  For more information check here.