Pittsburgh-born guitarist and vocalist George Benson (1943), who cut his teeth in Jack McDuff's group (1962) with a style reminiscent of Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian, became the epitome of commercial fusion jazz of the 1970s.
The New Boss Guitar (may 1964), with McDuff on organ, presented Benson as a composer and performer of hard-bop at the border with soul (Shadow Dancers) and blues (I Don't Know).
His lightning-speed technique matured via It's Uptown (1964) and Cookbook (october 1966), both enhanced with Lonnie Smith's organ,
Giblet Gravy (february 1968) and Shape of Things to Come (october 1968), both enhanced with organ, Herbie Hancock's piano and pop arrangements.
On his way to stardom, Benson was forced to use more covers and less originals,
and to accent the groove of his soul-jazz for the dancehalls, but he still
managed to deliver some noteworthy originals:
Somewhere In The East on Beyond the Blue Horizon (february 1971), with drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Ron Carter,
the eleven-minute El Mar on White Rabbit (november 1971), with Hancock, percussionist Airto Moreira, bassist and Ron Carter and drummer Billy Cobham,
the funky workouts Body Talk and Dance on Body Talk (july 1973), with the rhythm section of Carter and DeJohnette.
The musical surgery of arranger Don Sebesky Bad Benson (may 1974), with the samba My Latin Brother and Sebelsky's funky 12-minute Serbian Blue,
and of Claus Ogerman on Breezin' (january 1976), whose only song (an eight-minute cover of Leon Russell's This Masquerade) climbed the charts,
succeeded in depressing Benson's guitar craft and turning him into a
smooth crooner specializing in covers of slick, formulaic pop-soul ballads,
peaking with the Quincy Jones-produced Give Me The Night (1980)
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