There are a lot of things one could call George Benson, but repetitive is not one of them. Having earnt his stripes at a very young age (drawing comparisons to the great Wes Montgomery early on and playing for Miles Davis), Benson had a lot to live up to in his solo carreer.
His early recordings for Verve established him as a powerful and original leader, and his albums for CTI are among the finest albums the label ever put out. Then, in 1976, he tried his hand at pop which, unfortunately for fans of his early work, he has stuck at ever since.
Most jazz purists dismiss this album as comparable only to the contrived, over-produced jazz/pop crossover music that followed it and made Benson a star to people outide jazz circles. But there is a whole lot more to this album than that.
With support from a great band - including the legendary Harvey Mason on the drums - and some beautiful orchestrations from Claus Ogerman, Benson literrally breezes (get it?) through the tracks here. He is always a pleasure to listen to; elegant, lyrical and truly entertaining as a guitarist. The songs here are easily the best he recorded for Warner, and they are so nicely put together that they are almost impossible to resist - however "cheesey" you may consider them to be.
While this is far from his best work, this is certainly the most accessible George Benson album you can get your hands on, and I mean that as a compliment. It's simply good, enjoyable music. At a good price, this is an invaluable addition to any serious listener's collection.
Over the years George Benson has received some stick from the British Music Press as being an artist who is (and I quote), 'cheesey' and an artist more suited to 'background, lounge playing'. All this from critics who would hail punk rock as 'pure music'. Bensons 'Breezin' is an absolute joy and surely must rank alongside all things 'cool'. His style is effortless and sophisticated and this CD should be placed in the 'chillin' section of your CD collection. Kickback and listen to 'Breezin'. I deny anyone not to want hear more of the 'man'.
In January 1976,Mr Benson entered Capitol Records,Hollywood and recorded over a period of 3 days together with equally talented musicians what many regard as his finest album.To add to this classic, a full orchestra was used arranged and conducted by the infamous Claus Ogerman.Six beautiful songs resulted.Three composed by George & his fellow band members and three covers.The title track composed by Bobby Womack,Leon Russell's This Masquerade and the awesome Jose Feliciano's Affirmation. It seemed wherever You went in the mid seventies, somebody was playing this record such was the quality of the music.I infact first heard it in Greece in 1977. Recorded all those years ago but still sounding as if he recorded it yesterday. If there is one George Benson album to have in your collection this Special Edition is the one.Never again was Jazz's Mr Cool so Chilled out.