George Benson

Verve Jazz Masters 21

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This is a more satisfactory summary of George Benson's late-'60s recordings than the early CD era's Silver Collection because it includes a pair of the later A&M recordings and a couple of guest spots on a Jimmy Smith album from that period. At this time, Benson, still in his mid-20s, was solidifying his reputation as a tremendously fluent and powerful guitar soloist, with plenty of hard bop facility and a genuine taste for R&B riffing and swinging. The eloquent slow blues of "Low Down and Dirty," and the wild, weird use of a Varitone octave multiplier on "The Shape of Things to Come," and the gutsy if occasionally scattered bop licks as a foil for the smoldering Smith (with drummer Donald Bailey) on "The Boss" go a long way toward illustrating Benson's range here.

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