George Benson

In Flight

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In the wake of "This Masquerade," the balance of power shifted for the first time toward George Benson's suddenly marketable voice; four of the six tracks on In Flight are vocals. By this time, Benson was tailoring his tenor toward soulful pitch-bending à la Stevie Wonder on tunes as diverse as "Nature Boy" and "The World Is a Ghetto," and the unison scatting with the guitar that caught fire with the public on Masquerade is now pulled out whenever possible. Benson's backing band from Breezin', still set in its funk mode, is intact, and Claus Ogerman again contributes gentle orchestral cushions. The two instrumentals, particularly Donny Hathaway's "Valdez in the Country," prove that Benson remained a brilliantly inventive melodist on guitar, in full possession of his powers. Yet there is every indication here that Benson was set upon becoming primarily a pop star.

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