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George Benson: Standing Together

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Continuing in the same direction as his 1996 GRP debut, That’s Right, Benson again strikes a balance between pop grooves, accessible vocal numbers, and his signature guitar work. As before, helping to achieve the concept are executive producer Tommy LiPuma and studio mainstay Ricky Peterson, who plays keyboard and a variety of other roles.

The only purely instrumental track is the opener, “C-Smooth,” with a slow, simmering groove that supports Benson’s highly articulate single-note excursions. He doesn’t play at all on “Still Waters,” a compelling, heartfelt ballad that gives guitarist Marc Antoine an opportunity to pepper the texture with tasty nylon-string phrases. “Cruise Control,” which sounds suspiciously like material from That’s Right, is a mix of Bensonisms, including an infectious groove, fluid guitar work, and silken vocalese episodes.

Tasteful yet cloying, Standing Together is another result of a calculated formula that Benson’s not apt to deviate from anytime soon.