George Benson / Earl Klugh

Collaboration

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George Benson rebels against the machine and comes out with an all-instrumental album, his first in 11 years and also his first full teaming with onetime protégé, acoustic guitarist Earl Klugh. Klugh sounds much more mature and forthcoming here than he did as a teenager in Benson's CTI days. Yet Benson still blows him away with his effortless swing, endless invention (within the constraints of the carefully controlled arrangements, however) and totally assured placement of the notes. "Mimosa" has some especially fluid work by Benson, with Klugh serving as an effective foil. The backing is mostly an electronic wash, though underpinned by solid funk support from former Benson bandmembers Harvey Mason and Paulinho Da Costa. The biggest hang-up are the so-so tunes, which both guitarists gratefully transcend whenever they solo. While Collaboration disappointed many guitar fans back in 1987 who were hoping for a more energetic session, time has underlined and strengthened its musical virtues.

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