GEORGE BENSON -- This is Jazz 9 (Epic / Legacy)

Many consider George Benson to be one of the greatest jazz guitarists around. While he is probably more renowned for his suave crooning on pop songs like "This Masquerade," his stellar jazz repertoire is what is emphasized here. In the mid-to-late 60's, he was touted as the next jazz guitar great. Once you hear him play, it's easy to understand why. Benson's technical mastery of the instrument is breathtaking. In the early 70's, he started to experiment with rock and R&B with mixed results. However, his 1974 rendition of the standard "Take Five" included here shows Benson was still capable of playing straight-ahead jazz.

This is Jazz 9 covers material from 1966 to 1975, in a variety of musical styles. "Clockwise" shows off the amazing interplay between the musicians in an ensemble setting. The other tracks on the CD run the gamut from introspective tracks like "Willow Weep For Me" and the beautiful "Ode to a Kudu" to scat guitar workouts like Gershwin's classic "Summertime." For those who think of Benson as just another crooner, this CD will hold many pleasant surprises.

Legacy's This is Jazz series is an excellent place for the novice to start his or her jazz collection. All of the CDs are digitally remastered for the best possible sound quality, and come with informative liner notes. As with the rest of the series, this CD is highly recommended.


Clockwise * Myna Byrd Blues * Willow Weep For Me * Stormy Weather * The Cooker * The Borgia Stick * Ode to a Kudu * Take Five * I Remember Wes * Good King Bad * Summertime (live) * From Now On

© 1997 Steve Marshall