In a career that spans five decades, 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. On Guitar Man, Benson's demonstrates this flexibility, all while maintaining his 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."
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'.
Other highlights include a playful straightahead reading of "Paper Moon" with the quartet, followed by a solo guitar rendition of "Danny Boy." Listen closely to the guitar introduction on the latter track, as Benson makes his strings sound like bagpipes. Gestures like this, however brief and subtle, clearly demonstrate why he's considered one of the greatest guitar players in the world.
09/16 Roanoke - Shaftman Performance Hall
09/17 Indianapolis - Optimist Park
10/01 Austin - The Riverbende Theatre
10/02 St. Louis - Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center
10/14 Phoenix - Sage Court JW Marriott
10/16 Atlanta - Symphony Hall
10/19 Englewood - Bergen Performing Arts Center
10/20 Morristown - Morristown Civic Center
10/21 New York City - Town Hall
10/23 Glenside - Keswick Theatre
I Want To Hold Your Hand
Don't Know Why
The Lady In My Life
"*****...Benson plays his heart out, and the result will most certainly be one of the top 10 discs of not just this coming year, but probably this coming decade." — JazzReview.com
"The title of his new recording, Guitar Man, places the emphasis where it belongs." — Jazziz