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George Benson: The Essential George Benson

This set is more than a guitar compilation-it’s practically an overview of modern jazz and pop production. The two-disc set takes us from 1963 to 1980, with tracks produced by John Hammond, Creed Taylor, Tommy LiPuma and Quincy Jones, among others. Loosely speaking, disc one gives us George Benson the jazzer: early sides with Jack McDuff, masterpieces from It’s Uptown and The George Benson Cookbook, “Sugar” with Stanley Turrentine, “Paraphernalia” with Miles Davis and more. Disc two highlights Benson the pop-jazz and R&B trendsetter with “Breezin’,” “Give Me the Night” and so forth. For the finish, Benson joins Dexter Gordon, Cedar Walton, Percy Heath and Art Blakey on a take of Gordon’s “Gotham City.” (The result is curiously anemic.)

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