George Benson

George Benson
By Warner Brothers
George Benson and Al Jarreau
By Randee St. Nicholas
George Benson performs with Chet Atkins on TNN circa 1982.
Monk Competition winner Lage Lund with George Benson
By Latshaw/Waldo
George Benson and Al Jarreau
By Alan Nahigian
George Benson, WGBH-TV, Boston 1969
By Lee Tanner
Tony Bennett and George Benson together at the Blue Note
Dana Gioia (left) with George Benson and Jimmy Cobb
By Alan Nahigian
George Benson with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at the 2009 NEA Jazz Master induction ceremonies
By Courtesy of JALC
George Benson
By Don Hunstein

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A household name ever since scoring a Top 10 hit in 1976 with “This Masquerade,” George Benson is not only a popular singer but also one of the finest guitarists in jazz history. Born in Pittsburgh in 1943, Benson actually made his first records as a singer, four selections in 1954 when he was 11. At that point, Benson had already been performing in nightclubs for three years. He took up the guitar a little later and in 1960 formed a rock band. Soon, influenced by Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery, he discovered jazz, although he always had his own musical personality. In 1962 Benson started an important three-year stint with Jack McDuff’s band, playing nightly opposite saxophonist Red Holloway. Their menu of blues at various tempos, ballads, funky jazz and soulful numbers with an occasional standard became Benson’s basic repertoire when he formed his own group in 1965.

He recorded two excellent albums for Columbia in the mid-1960s, guested on Miles Davis’ Miles in the Sky and appeared on sessions as a sideman. His work for Verve, particularly after Wes Montgomery’s death in 1968, cast him as a fill-in for the late guitarist. However his recordings for CTI during 1971-76 include some of his finest work on guitar. In 1976 Benson debuted for Warner Bros. with the album Breezin’. He had only rarely sung during the previous decade and just one tune on Breezin’ has a vocal, but “This Masquerade,” on which Benson scatted in unison with his guitar, caught on with the public in a big way. From then on, George Benson’s career was turned around and he became a singer who also played guitar. His output became R&B-oriented, he had hits with “On Broadway’ and “Give Me the Night,” and sometimes his guitar was only used for variety. But Benson has never lost his abilities as a jazz improviser. Whether recording with McCoy Tyner, the Count Basie band, with Al Jarreau (Givin’ It Up) or in pop settings, George Benson is always a stand out and a crowd pleaser.


Articles on George Benson

09/01/13    Features    By Geoffrey Himes

George Benson: For Love & Money

12/22/12    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

George Benson to Record Nat King Cole Tribute Album

02/28/12    Albums    By Bill Milkowski

Guitar Man
George Benson

02/15/12    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

TD Vancouver Int’l Jazz Festival Announces Major Headliners

09/07/11    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

George Benson 'Guitar Man' Video

08/09/11    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

George Benson to Release ‘Guitar Man’ on October 4

02/03/11    News    By Lee Mergner

Sony Reissues Six Vintage CTI Jazz Titles

December 2010    Albums    By John Murph

CTI Records: The Cool Revolution
Various Artists

07/30/10    News    By C.T. Goodman

Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival Set for Sep. 3-4

07/05/10    Concerts    By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.

Freihofer’s Jazz Festival at Saratoga Springs

05/18/10    News    By Aubrey Everett

Preview of 25th Vancouver International Jazz Festival

05/04/10    Franckling's JazzNotes    By Ken Franckling

Montreal Jazz Fest Still at Top of its Game

11/09/09    News    By Lee Mergner

George Benson Appearing With The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Show

09/24/09    News    By Lee Mergner

The Kennedy Center Announces 2009-2010 Jazz Season

December 2008    News    By Bill Milkowski

The 2009 Jazz Masters: Jazz Oscars

January/February 2008    News    By Don Heckman

20th Annual Thelonious Monk Competition: In Walked Brass

July/August 2007    Features    By Evan Haga

Portraits in Strings

December 2006    Currents    By Brian Soergel

Givin' it Up
George Benson & Al Jarreau

December 2006    Currents    By Brian Soergel

Givin' it Up
George Benson & Al Jarreau

December 2006    JT Notes    By Lee Mergner

Selling Out Is In

December 2006    Features    By Janine Coveney

Al Jarreau and George Benson: A Long Time Coming

November 2006    DVDs    By Brian Soergel

George Benson: Live at Montreux 1986
George Benson

November 2006    Features    By

Autumn Chill: Smooth Jazzers Reflect on their Hard-Jazz Heroes

September 2006    Guitartistry    By David R. Adler

The Essential George Benson
George Benson

September 2006    Guitartistry    By David R. Adler

The Essential George Benson
George Benson

December 2005    Albums    By Brian Soergel

Best of George Benson Live
George Benson

December 2005    Albums    By Brian Soergel

Best of George Benson Live
George Benson

09/21/05    Concerts    By Larry Appelbaum

Thelonious Monk International Jazz Guitar Competition

September 2005    Features    By

50 LPs from 35 Years of JazzTimes, Part II

06/14/05    Concerts    By Chris Walker

Playboy Jazz Festival 2005

June 2004    Albums    By Chris Walker

George Benson

December 2003    Features    By Lara Pellegrinelli

Singing for Our Supper

November 1998    Albums    By Jim Ferguson

Standing Together
George Benson

September 1997    Features    By Mike Joyce

Who's overrated? Who's Underrated?



Standing Together


Sax Master

Alembic Arts


Warner Archives


Warner Archives

The George Benson Cookbook


It's Uptown


Body Talk


Bad Benson


The Greatist Hits of All

Warner Brothers

The Greatest Hits of All

Warner Brothers



Jazz Moods: Hot


Playboy Jazz: In a Smooth Groove


Best of George Benson Live


The Essential George Benson


Givin' it Up

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