Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
George Benson's place as one of the greatest and most successful guitarists in the history of jazz is secure, but what's easy to forget sometimes is that he began his career as a vocalist, and if this release, a tribute to Nat King Cole, comes as any kind of surprise, it shouldn't. Benson's and Cole's careers are remarkably similar, both becoming known first as instrumentalists, Cole as a pianist, and Benson, of course, as a guitarist, with both eventually easing into the pop mainstream because of their voices. Cole was a one of a kind vocalist, of course, and even Benson wouldn't claim to equal him as a singer, but Benson has a similarly soothing and lush tenor voice ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
George Benson's place as one of the greatest and most successful guitarists in the history of jazz is secure, but what's easy to forget sometimes is that he began his career as a vocalist, and if this release, a tribute to Nat King Cole, comes as any kind of surprise, it shouldn't. Benson's and Cole's careers are remarkably similar, both becoming known first as instrumentalists, Cole as a pianist, and Benson, of course, as a guitarist, with both eventually easing into the pop mainstream because of their voices. Cole was a one of a kind vocalist, of course, and even Benson wouldn't claim to equal him as a singer, but Benson has a similarly soothing and lush tenor voice that more than holds its own on these familiar songs. The album is bookended by two versions of the Cole classic "Mona Lisa," the first a rare recording of Benson at the age of eight singing it sweetly and charmingly while playing ukulele, while the album closes with a full big-band, Nelson Riddle-arranged orchestral version that also features some sweet guitar from Benson. In between are warm, smooth, and soothing versions of "Walking My Baby Back Home" and "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," a bouncing and bopping "Route 66," and nice takes on "Unforgettable" (featuring Wynton Marsalis), "When I Fall in Love" (featuring Idina Menzel), "Smile" (featuring Till Brönner), and "Too Young" (featuring Judith Hill), all given the full big-band orchestral treatment from the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra conducted by Randy Waldman (Waldman also arranged several of the pieces here). It all adds up to a sweet and very impressive album, full of warmth and heart, and it swings where it should.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/4/2013
  • Label: Concord Records
  • UPC: 888072342682
  • Catalog Number: 34268
  • Sales rank: 21,772

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Mona Lisa - Lil' Georgie Benson (0:56)
  2. 2 Just One of Those Things (2:42)
  3. 3 Unforgettable - Wynton Marsalis (5:05)
  4. 4 Walkin' My Baby Back Home (2:43)
  5. 5 When I Fall In Love - Idina Menzel (4:03)
  6. 6 Route 66 (3:50)
  7. 7 Nature Boy (2:39)
  8. 8 Ballerina (2:46)
  9. 9 Smile - Till Brönner (3:22)
  10. 10 Straighten Up and Fly Right (3:05)
  11. 11 Too Young - Judith Hill (3:27)
  12. 12 I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter (3:04)
  13. 13 Mona Lisa (3:02)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
George Benson Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Chuck Berghofer Bass
Till Brönner Trumpet
Alvin Chea Background Vocals
Janey Clewer Background Vocals
Sheila E. Percussion
Michael Fisher Percussion
Wynton Marsalis Trumpet
Timothy May Guitar
Randy Waldman Piano, Conductor, Background Vocals
Gregg Field Drums
Chris Papastephanou Background Vocals
Scott Flavin Conductor
Idina Menzel Vocals
Joy Adams Cello
Judith Hill Vocals
Chris Gagne Trombone
Major Bailey Trombone
Mark Small Tenor Saxophone
Marcela Fernández Viola
Jared Hall Trumpet
Lauren Miller Viola
Cecilia Huerta Cello
Adam Diderrich Violin
Ryan Chapman Trumpet
Robert Patrignani Violin
Jeff Kipperman Bass
Kendall Moore Trombone
Tomas Cotik Violin
Kevin McKeown Alto Saxophone
Zack Piper Violin
Yen-Ling Lin Bass
Victor Colmenares Violin
Stephen Szabadi Trombone
Steffen Zeichner Violin, Concert Master, Soloist
Sarah Gongware Cello
Robyn Savitzky Viola
Rachel Hershey Bass
Patricia Jancova Violin
Neil Carson Alto Saxophone
Michelle Mlacker Violin
Michelle Godbee Violin
Katrina Schaeffer Violin
Kathryn Severing Viola
Karin O'Keefe Violin
Jonah Osawa Violin
Jon Anderson French Horn
James Raynolds Violin
Gilbert Paz Trumpet
Don Chelton Background Vocals
Derek Smith Baritone Saxophone
Chris Burbank Trumpet
Chia-Li Yu Cello
Cassandra Eisenreich Flute
Arianne Urban Violin
Andrew Kromholz Cello
Alex Weitz Tenor Saxophone
Abby Young Violin
Lil' Georgie Benson Ukulele, Vocals
Technical Credits
George Benson Liner Notes
Irving Mills Composer
Bobby Troup Composer
Fred E. Ahlert Composer
Greg Allen Art Direction
Terence Blanchard Artistic Director
Charlie Chaplin Composer
Nat King Cole Composer
Ray Evans Composer
Edward Heyman Composer
Jay Livingston Composer
Nelson Riddle Arranger, Horn Arrangements
Cole Porter Composer
Bob Russell Composer
Al Schmitt Engineer
Carl Sigman Composer
Roy Turk Composer
Randy Waldman Arranger, Producer, String Arrangements, Piano Engineer
Victor Young Composer
Shelly Berg Staff
Eden Ahbez Composer
Paul Blakemore Mastering
Joe Young Composer
Irving Gordon Composer
Sylvia Dee Composer
Sidney Lippman Composer
John Burke Producer
Dave Poler Engineer
Seth Presant Engineer
Stephanie Gonzalez Representation
Bob Zievers Booking
Jeff Jones "the Jedi Master" Engineer
James John Turner Phillips Composer
Geoffrey Parsons Composer
Stephen Guerra Managing Director
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