About the artist
The premier jazz guitarist of his generation, George Benson also possesses a rich soul voice that helped him cross over into major pop stardom in the 1970s and '80s. A child prodigy, Benson added grittier street textures to a style that absorbed the lessons of guitarists Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and Grant Green. Benson's rougher sessions as a sideman and solo artist become more streamlined when he was chosen as Wes Montgomery's successor at both Verve and CTI Records. The guitarist excelled at both brilliant post-bop and sleek crossover jazz when the biting Beyond the Blue Horizon and the sleek White Rabbit came out in 1971. Pop stardom beckoned at Warner Bros. when the hits "Breezin'" and "This Masquerade" were followed by the thumping live recording of "On Broadway" and the upscale "Give Me the Night." A progenitor of both smooth jazz and the quiet storm ballad style, Benson kept putting out occasional jazz albums along with pop product until changes in the marketplace had him returning to more challenging material with Absolute Benson (2000) and Guitar Man (2011). A master of the groove as well as a dazzling improvisor, George Benson's recordings are heavily sampled and his style is much copied.
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