Twelve exemplary recorded performances from one of the greatest legends of the jazz guitar.
Any discussion concerning the most important guitarists in jazz must include George Benson. He along with fellow six-stringer, Pat Martino, were the pillars of jazz on the instrument in the 1970s, before trends changed, and focus turned to more additives and categorical obfuscations.
My attraction to Benson was what ignited my life’s work. As a fifteen year old I thought, “If I can one day make the exhilaration and full range of emotion that I feel from listening to him, that’s what I want to do!”
Today, Benson has continued to practice, evolve and excel in his musical gifts. However, I’m not sure that he is sufficiently appreciated by modern-day jazz guitarists and students. As an answer to that and as a listening aid and primer for aspiring jazz guitarists, I’m republishing this article that I was asked to write in 2011. It originally appeared on a now defunct website by a very well respected jazz journalist. It includes my commentary of a dozen of George’s recorded performances that I feel offer important glimpses into his style during different periods throughout his career. These are just some of my favorites, and by no means should be thought of as a “best of” list. I could easily pick twelve more cuts and wax on with equal enthusiasm. With that said, please read, listen and most of all enjoy!