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George Benson: Best of George Benson Live

It’s standard practice for record labels to release “best of” collections after severing ties with its artists, and George Benson is no longer with Verve. The music is taken from a live performance from 2000 in Belfast, Ireland, and already released on DVD, but the sound quality isn’t up to par with some of the best live recordings.

It’s only the third official live recording of Benson’s material–George Benson in Concert from 1977 and Weekend in L.A. in 1978 are the others–and the first to feature many of his crossover classics. (Although Weekend in L.A. has a splendid 10-minute version of “On Broadway.”)

One instrumental classic, “Breezin’,” is here as are several vocal hits: “On Broadway,” “Turn Your Love Around,” “This Masquerade” and “Give Me the Night.” Sharing the stage with Benson are pianist Joe Sample, guitarist Michael O’Neill, drummer Michael White, percussionist Dio Saucedo, bassist Stanley Banks and keyboardist Thom Hall. In addition, musicians from the BBC Big Band and Ulster Orchestra joined Benson. Great music. Great musicians. But let’s hope this isn’t the definitive live recording of Benson’s hits.

Originally Published