George Benson

This Is Jazz, Vol. 9

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Taken from Columbia's multi-volume jazz primer, this is not bad for a single-company compilation. The selections split down the middle between George Benson's early 1965-1966 Columbia albums and his 1971-1976 CTI output that Columbia now controls; the gaps are obvious but the title of the series neatly narrows the scope of the survey. We hear the young, eager Benson in four cuts from It's Uptown and only two from the superior George Benson Cookbookincluding the spectacular "The Cooker" -- before sampling a cut apiece from CTI's Beyond the Blue Horizon, Bad Benson, Good King Bad, and In Concert-At Carnegie Hall. In addition, the outtake solo "From Now On" is reprised from CTI/CBS' Best of Benson, as is "I Remember Wes." Throughout, there are plenty of examples that explain why Benson is so esteemed as a jazz guitarist -- the unerring selection of notes, the churning rhythms, melting lyricism and sheer ability to swing. This, coupled with Warner Bros.' Collection, will give the casual Benson browser an adequate idea of his multiple talents.

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