StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: George Benson's guitar and grooves


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This week, let's check out some videos featuring guitarist and singer George Benson, who will be back in St. Louis next week to perform for the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries' annual fundraising gala on Friday, May 12 at the Sheldon.

Named a “Jazz Master" by the National Endowment for the Arts and the winner of ten Grammy awards, Benson is undeniably one of the most successful crossover musicians of the past half-century. After establishing himself as a first-rate jazz guitarist in the 1960s and early '70s, Benson broke through to fans of R&B and pop with with the album Breezin', which brought his vocals to the front and proved to be just the first of an impressive series of hit albums and singles.

Given all those hits, any further introduction here seems superfluous, so let's go straight to the videos, a mix of old and newer clips starting up above with “This Masquerade," Benson's first million-selling single back in 1976, seen here as performed in 2011 during a show in Belfast, Ireland.

After the jump, you can see Benson doing his distinctive version of “On Broadway" at the 2011 Jazz à Vienne festival, followed by “Give Me The Night" from the same event in 2013.

The fourth clip goes all the way back to 1976, and features the guitarist playing the title track from Breezin' at the 1976 DownBeat magazine poll-winners' show, accompanied by Chick Corea on keyboards, Billy Cobham on drums, and Phil Upchurch on bass.

That's followed by an entire set recorded in 1978 for the German television program Musikladen Extra, featuring Benson's crack touring band of that era, with keyboardists Jorge Dalto and Ronnie Foster, drummer Dennis Davis, and bassist Stanley Banks.

Finally, the last video jumps forward again 30 years, back into the 21st century for another full set recorded in 2008 at the Tokyo Jazz Festival.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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