1. Ronnie Scott’s

    January 8, 2014 by admin

    “The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of the greatest legends of jazz, soul and popular music in the intimate surroundings of Ronnie Scott’s sold out to club members within six minutes of going on sale. The two shows which will take place on 18th June have been the club’s fastest selling shows to date.” – Music News.com


  2. 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

  3. 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


  4. Fender Signature Amp

    October 3, 2012 by admin


    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.


    Twitter @howardreich

  7. 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.

  8. In the studio creating the Guitar Man

    June 13, 2011 by admin

    The Guitar Man

    Last weekend was history in the making.

    George recorded at Capitol Recording Studios with Harvey Mason on drums, Joe Sample and David Garfield on keys and Ben Williams on bass. The legendary, Grammy Award winning engineer, Al Schmidt, was at the board along with Grammy Award winning Producer, John Burk. A late September release titled The Guitar Man with a tour to follow where you can find GB leading a quartet in intimate venues throughout the US.

  9. Songs and Stories nominated for a Grammy

    December 7, 2010 by admin

    Grammy Award

    Congratulations to George and all who were involved in making Songs and Stories.

    Songs and Stories is nominated for a Grammy for Best Surround Sound Album!


  10. Benson peaks after tribute

    November 22, 2010 by admin


    The voice of The Peddlers, Roy Phillips, opened with an impressive jazzy keyboard and smoky vocals.

    Phillips was an unexpected but welcome treat with versions of Misty, Last Train to Clarksville and his own compositions.

    Then came the man we had been waiting for, with his mile-wide smile and rich tones.

    Dressed in a black tuxedo, George Benson captured the audience from his opening guitar chords.

    As well as using the CSO, he brought some talented singers and musos, including Barbra Streisand’s musical director as his conductor/ pianist.

    The lush strings of the CSO were put to particularly good use.

    Benson put his own twist on Nat King Cole’s songbook, including When I Fall in Love, Mona Lisa, Ramblin’ Rose, Too Young, Straighten up and Fly Right, Smile and Just One of Those Things.

    And, of course, Benson’s classic hit Give Me the Night, which got the audience dancing in the aisles.

    The multi-Grammy award winner and hall of famer also shared a snippet of a recording from his child prodigy days 60 years ago.

    The sexagenarian virtuoso guitarist has a remarkable voice.

    After the Cole tribute, Benson gave us a “Benson party” with his own songs, from jazzy blues, to impressive instrumentals, scat and old school. He possibly felt constrained by Cole’s songs.

    He let loose with Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love, In Your Eyes, and more.

    More than mere imitation, this was Benson at his best.

    For one night, the town hall became an old-school swinging nightclub. Even when he’s paying tribute to a great singer, you never forget, there is only one George Benson.

    REVIEW George Benson – An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole, with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, 8pm, November 16, Christchurch Town Hall. Reviewed by Margaret Agnew. Photo Dean Kozanic