Absolute Benson

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Cohen
Taking a tip from 1999's pop-man-of-the-year Carlos Santana, guitarist George Benson goes Latin on his latest release. The slinky/gutsy rhythms do him good -- ULTIMATE BENSON turns out to be his liveliest disc in some time. First-rate sidemen don't hurt. On board are bassist Christian McBride, drummers Steve Gadd and Cindy Blackman, and Claudia Acuna and India on backing vocals. To his credit, producer Tommy LiPuma never lets things get too smooth; the edge can be heard in Benson's inspired guitar and vocal work. But Benson's secret weapon is keyboardist and composer Joe Sample, who plays with considerable verve and contributes some terrific tunes, including "Deeper than...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Cohen
Taking a tip from 1999's pop-man-of-the-year Carlos Santana, guitarist George Benson goes Latin on his latest release. The slinky/gutsy rhythms do him good -- ULTIMATE BENSON turns out to be his liveliest disc in some time. First-rate sidemen don't hurt. On board are bassist Christian McBride, drummers Steve Gadd and Cindy Blackman, and Claudia Acuna and India on backing vocals. To his credit, producer Tommy LiPuma never lets things get too smooth; the edge can be heard in Benson's inspired guitar and vocal work. But Benson's secret weapon is keyboardist and composer Joe Sample, who plays with considerable verve and contributes some terrific tunes, including "Deeper than you Think" "One on One" and "Hipping the Hop," which proves he's experiencing a midlife artistic resurgence. Benson responds in kind with strong displays of his sleek guitar playing and trademark guitar-vocal interplay. His vocals may be kept to a minimum, but he sounds plenty impassioned on the opening one-two punch of "The Ghetto" and "El Barrio," as well as the Ray Charles blues, "Come Back Baby." Throughout, Benson grabs hold of the material, just plain delighted to be digging in and playing again.
All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
George Benson is well embarked on the third phase of his career, and Absolute Benson, though unfortunately titled it sounds like a compilation, but is actually an album of new recordings is another in a series of consistently excellent CDs that characterize it. Benson excited traditional jazz fans in the 1960s and early '70s with his albums of inventive guitar playing on Columbia, A&M, and CTI, records that made him seem the logical successor to Wes Montgomery. Then, in 1976, he moved to Warner Bros. Records and recorded Breezin', featuring the single "This Masquerade," on which he sang, and suddenly he became a million-selling pop vocalist who happened to play guitar, seemingly the logical successor to Nat "King" Cole. That, of course, made him anathema to traditional jazz critics. After a decade, however, his pop success began to diminish, and by the end of the decade he was making another move -- to contemporary jazz. By the 1990s, he was restricting his vocal excursions to a few tracks on each disc, and his albums began to top the contemporary jazz album charts consistently. His move from Warner Bros. to GRP, a label devoted to contemporary jazz, confirmed the transition. Absolute Benson is his third GRP release, and on it he turns in a varied set, accompanied by Joe Sample on keyboards; Carlos Hernandez or Christian McBride on bass; Vidal Davis, Steve Gadd, or Cindy Blackman on drums; and Luis Conte or Luisito Quintero on percussion. Four of the nine tracks feature vocals of one sort or another. On the leadoff track, "The Ghetto," Benson accompanied by five background vocalists sings a few words, and on "Come Back Baby," he takes a real lead vocal, while on "El Barrio" and "Medicine Man" he only scats along with his guitar playing in his familiar style. But none of these performances is a conventional pop vocal performance. Similarly, Benson flirts with various pop music styles, covering Donny Hathaway's "The Ghetto," Stevie Wonder's "Lately," and Ray Charles' "Come Back Baby" for elements of R&B and blues, while "El Barrio" has a Latin feel. But he employs these styles as flavorings, the main course of which always remains his melodic guitar playing. His lead work in "Jazzenco" is particularly notable, but throughout the disc he plays with assurance in a manner his fans will recognize and appreciate. If it is difficult to crossover from jazz to pop, crossing back can be just as treacherous. Benson's oldest fans, who later became his detractors, still may not be satisfied with his current approach, but it has deservedly won him a secure place in contemporary jazz.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/23/2000
  • Label: Grp Records
  • UPC: 731454358620
  • Catalog Number: 543586

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Ghetto (4:56)
  2. 2 El Barrio (3:34)
  3. 3 Jazzenco (5:48)
  4. 4 Deeper Than You Think (5:55)
  5. 5 One on One (7:05)
  6. 6 Hipping the Hop (3:57)
  7. 7 Lately (4:22)
  8. 8 Come Back Baby (5:59)
  9. 9 Medicine Man (7:00)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
George Benson Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Roy Ayers Background Vocals
Ricky Peterson Synthesizer, Hammond Organ
Joe Sample Synthesizer, Piano, Hammond Organ
Cindy Blackman Drums
Lisa Fischer Background Vocals
Luis Conte Percussion, Conga, Timbales
Steve Gadd Drums
Christian McBride Bass
Elliot Scheiner Overdubs
Al Schmitt Overdubs
Bill Schnee Overdubs
Luisito Quintero Percussion
Richard Shade Background Vocals
Claudia Acuña Background Vocals
Carlos Henríquez Bass
Vidal Davis Drums
Technical Credits
Donny Hathaway Composer
Joe Henderson Composer
Ricky Peterson Synthesizer Arrangements
Joe Sample Synthesizer Arrangements
Leroy Hutson Composer
Steven Barkan Engineer
Al Eaton Composer
James Farber Engineer
Jon Fausty Engineer
Tommy LiPuma Producer
Arif Mardin Arranger
Doug Sax Mastering
Elliot Scheiner Engineer
Al Schmitt Engineer
Todd Shaw Composer
"Little" Louie Vega Producer
Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez Producer
Isabelle Wong Graphic Design
Hollis King Art Direction
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Benson- Nothing But the Best!!!!!!!

    George Benson never seems to surprise loyal fans with spectacular jazz grooves. True jazz lovers will appreciate his classic style and smooth sounds. This is a must buy!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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