I recently asked my 22-year old son, do you know who George Benson is? He looked at me in disbelief and said, “of course Mom”. Then he started singing the words to “This Masquerade”. I smiled and was actually happy and shocked at the same time to hear that my millennial son who loves Rap and Hip-Hop knew who he was. He did admit, “Ma who doesn’t know George Benson”. You played his music all the time when I was growing up and besides being an Uber driver, I do listen to WaterColors on Sirius Radio in addition to the other music. I said I didn’t think you were paying attention. What shocked me, even more, was the number of George Benson songs he knew. He certainly validated that George Benson’s music is loved by all age groups. Young people never cease to amaze me.
George Benson is one of the greatest R&B Artists and Jazz Guitarists in the world. He is an incredible, fascinating entertainer, performer, and soloist. With his amazing ability to cross-over between Smooth Jazz, Contemporary R&B and Straight- Ahead Jazz, Mr. B continues to create a style that is completely his own. George Benson’s music has a distinct sound, no one can mistake him for anyone else. Classic songs like “Breezin” and “This Masquerade” were songs that really skyrocketed his musical career, you just can’t get those two gems of a song out of your head. Romantic, epic and soulful, both songs have beautiful instrumentals and harmony.
Those two masterpieces will always hold a place in my heart. One of my very first dates with my husband of forty years was at a George Benson concert at C.W.Post Collge. The rest is history.
A Gifted and amazingly versatile musician, George Benson started out as a professional singer, performing in night clubs and recording four sides for RCA’s X label at the age of 8 in 1954. He formed a rock band by the age of 17 all while using a guitar his step-dad made for him.
George Benson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is a 10 time Grammy Award winner which includes a record of the year for his triple platinum song ” Breezin”. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music in 1990. He has toured throughout North America, Europe, and many countries bordering the Pacific Rim. Spending much of his musical career in the presence of fellow artists, he is a jazz legend who has a long history of collaborations, from Freddie Hubbard, Kenny G, Chick Correa, and Bob James to jazz vocalist the late Al Jarreau. With his recent release of “Walking To New Orleans” a fascinating tribute to musical greats Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. Benson says, he is an “appreciator of music made by both of those guys”. Mr. Benson breathes new life into their original music coupled with his trademark vocals and smooth harmony”. “Chuck Berry was a great showman and a great musician, Fats Domino cut nothing but hit after hit after hit.”
He signed with Mascot Lable Group in 2018 in which his “Walking to New Orleans” is Mr. Bensons first recording since 2013 (Inspirational tribute to Nat King Cole) and Mr. B’s 45th album. Read more about ” ” Walking To New Orleans”.
BackBeat R&B had the greatest honor and privilege of “Breezin ” it up with the one and only legendary George Benson.
BB: What do you think transformed your life, Jazz or R&B music?
GB: Jazz Music. The first record I ever heard was Benny Goodman featuring Charlie Christian, I was 7 years old.