Описание CD

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  Исполнитель(и) :
◄◄◄        ►►►

  Наименование CD :
   George Benson & Jack McDuff

Год издания : 1977

Компания звукозаписи : Prestige

Музыкальный стиль : Soul Jazz

Время звучания : 1:06:10

Код CD : 0888072240728

  Комментарий (рецензия) :

CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Jazz (Guitar)      

Recording Date: May 1, 1964, Oct 19, 1965

George Benson's facile post-Wes Montgomery single-line and chord-accented style was well received in his salad days of the mid- to late '60s. Primarily self-taught and ear-trained, he made great strides in a five-year period around his native Pittsburgh, working with organist Jack McDuff on the East Coast chitlin circuit. As the soul-jazz and boogaloo movement was establishing itself, Benson was right in the pocket, as these seminal mid-'60s sessions perfectly illustrate. In tandem with saxophonist Red Holloway, the two Prestige label LPs New Boss Guitar and Hot Barbeque were initially reissued in 1977 on a vinyl two-fer, and now on this single CD. The first two tracks, "Shadow Dancers" and "The Sweet Alice Blues," sans McDuff though toeing the groove line, are the most original and modern numbers. The remaining tracks on the New Boss Guitar 1964 dates add McDuff, with "Just Another Sunday" a gold standard for the emerging style. Benson's balladic expertise during "Easy Living" is as impressive as in the different dynamic of the rompin' stompin' "Rock-A-Bye." From May Day of 1965, the title cut and original version of "Hot Barbeque" has become an all-time hit and ultimate groove biscuit. Drummer Joe Dukes is the difference maker, as his fluid ease in either swinging or mixing hard bop with R&B fifty-fifty effectively drives the band so simply. "Briar Patch" approaches rock & roll, while "Hippy Dip" shows a completely unified Benson and McDuff on a fun melody line. A most arresting high-register organ sound, near unearthly, surrounds an easy swing on "The Party's Over." In addition, check out the slow late-night blues "I Don't Know" (from the 1964 dates) and "Cry Me a River" from 1965. Although Benson would reach a zenith in his short career as a jazz musician during this period, before abandoning its purity for commercial pop singing, Holloway and McDuff went on and on and on to their own great acclaim. This is Benson's initial emergence, and a valuable reminder of how great he once was.

All Music Guide

========= from the cover ==========

Toward the end of 1976, when George Benson had beaten the odds and gods of public taste and the music business and become a genuine pop star, he was part of a jazz all-stars program put together by Down Beat magazine for public television. Most of the musicians involved were, like Benson, men who had paid their dues in jazz and were making it big in fusion, or crossover, or jazz-rock music.

The natural concern of a dedicated jazz lover was that the music on the program would find the lowest common denominator of the best-selling albums Benson, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham, and Jean Luc-Ponty had ridden to commercial success. The fear was that, despite the proven creative musicianship of all concerned, eagerness to please the mass audience that had made them famous would lead the level of performance downward into boredom. Indeed, there was a brief opening period of obligatory jazz-rock get-the-money-and-run shuckin'. Then the all-stars settled down to serious business, and there were fine moments from all of the above, plus Thad Jones, Sonny Fortune, Bill Watrous, and Gary Burton. Benson's solo feature had all the elements, including those borrowed from Wes Montgomery, for which the top-40 devotees admire him. It was pleasant.

But when Benson and Ron Carter combined for a guitar-bass duet on "Lover Man," the real George Benson stood out. Reducing his amplification nearly to that of an acoustic instrument, George constructed a filigree accompaniment to Carter's solo, ultimately melding with the bassist in a stretch of mutual improvisation that was uncanny for the way the two men anticipated one another. His comp-ing behind Carter's rubato flight at the end of the piece was a model of what guitar accompaniment should be. The performance was worth warehouses full of Benson's hit album, and it was a reminder that when a superior musician achieves popular success with watered-down material he doesn't necessarily dilute his art, however rarely he may choose or be allowed to work at it.

Besides, before we get too exercised about this business of popular acceptance versus artistic integrity, it may be well to keep in mind that Benson set out years ago to become a popular performer not a jazz musician. His public career began when he was an eight-year-old singer. His first recordings in 1954, the year he began learning to play the guitar, were vocals. He has often said that he considers himself an entertainer who became a musician out of necessity.

That makes Benson something of a hangover from an earlier era, when jazzmen like Earl Hines and Louis Armstrong, for all their artistic genius, never discussed their music in terms of art. They saw their task as entertaining, making people happy. It would take a mighty effort of critical dissembling to convince anyone with ears that Hines and Armstrong were not among the most important creative musicians of their time, which in Hines's case continues. And it would be foolish to seize upon Benson's commercial appeal as proof that his worth as a serious musician has diminished. The Armstrong of "West End Blues" and the Armstrong of "Blueberry Hill" dwelled not in separate planes of existence, but together. The Benson of "Lover Man" and the Benson of "Breezin"' don't seem to be at war with each other, certainly not in the mind of Benson.

Be that as it may, given a chance, most serious listeners would take Louis's "West End Blues" and George's "Lover Man" every time whatever the entertainment merits of "Blueberry Hill" or "Breezin'."

Armstrong went through periods where he succumbed, or was conditioned, to his popular repertoire, but he still loved to blow, and there were times almost to the very end when he astonished his colleagues with his creativity. Benson, even if he achieves Armstrong's commercial success, is incapable of jettisoning his artistic sensibility, which, however much he proclaims his artistic innocence, is ingrained through years of development as a creative improvising musician.

Until he was 17, Benson was his own teacher, guided by basics picked up from his stepfather, Thomas Collier, an amateur guitarist and avid Charlie Christian fan. Benson had a rock and roll band in which he played guitar. But his vocals were the main attraction. George loved Christian, but he says it was the late Hank Garland's only jazz album that made him realize all the possibilities of the guitar." Garland, one of the most recorded country guitarists in the Nashville milieu of the 1950s and early Sixties, was a phenomenally gifted musician who could have had a stellar jazz career if he had been willing to take the pay cut. In 1969 he recorded a quartet album {Jazz Winds from a New Direction, Columbia CSP ACS 8372) with young Gary Burton on vibes, bassist Joe Benjamin, and drummer Joe Morello. Among other things Benson learned from the Garland record was the effectiveness of single note lines, an aspect that he quickly began to absorb into this own style. Inspired by Garland, Benson now began earnestly to pursue guitar knowledge.

When guitar players came through his hometown of Pittsburgh, George studied their techniques and quizzed them endlessly about fingerings, chords, improvisational methods, amplifiers, strings . . . the full range of guitar lore. His persistence paid off in instruction from Grant Green, Eddie McFadden, Eddie Diehl, Thornel Schwartz, and John Pisano. Then, in 1961, when Benson was 18, Jack McDuff asked Benson to join his quartet, which was riding the wave of soul-jazz popularity.

A number of organists rose to fame after Jimmy Smith showed the way for them in modern jazz. McDuff has been one of the most admired, popular, and durable. He began his jazz life as a bassist and was working with tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin in Chicago when Art Blakey asked him to join the Jazz Messengers. McDuff recalls that it was during a period when Blakey was enamored of fast tempos on tunes that would often last an hour and a half. He didn't think he had the stamina a bass player would need for that kind of marathoning. Shortly after, he switched to piano, and worked steadily with trios that included bassists Leroy Vinnegar and Richard Evans long before they became well known.

The change to the instrument that would be his vehicle to fame came about not because of inspiration from Jimmy Smith but as a matter of economics. He kept getting gigs at clubs which turned out to have organs, not pianos, and if he wanted to keep the contracts he had no choice but to play the organ. As he spent more and more time at the electronic keyboard, McDuff began to discover what he has since demonstrated thousands of times that the organ is "a hell of an instrument, a complete instrument, a dominant instrument."

Most organ groups did not include horns at the time McDuff left tenor saxophonist Willis Jackson in 1960 to form his own quartet. But McDuff had developed a taste for the tenor-organ sound and has almost always included at least one saxophonist. One of his bands had two tenors.

McDuff told Dan Morgenstern in a Down Beat article a few years ago that among all the bands he's led he had a special feeling for the quartet that included Red Holloway on tenor and the neophyte George Benson on guitar. Benson was definitely not a finished product when McDuff took him on.

"When I first met George," McDuff told Morgenstern, "he didn't know any complete tune, not even the bridge to 'Moonlight in Vermont,' which all the guitarists were playing because of Johnny Smith's record. But he could play blues, and he was so fluent that it was clear you could show him things. I had my electric piano, so I'd tape five or six tunes, and the next day he'd be playing them like he's been reading them. ... In fact, Red Holloway was a good reader, and I'd write out parts for him, but George would be playing them before him! People started to recognize that he was a bitch, and he hasn't looked back since."

Benson developed awesomely during the three and a half years he was with McDuff. The simple opportunity to do steady work in a highly professional band was probably all that a musician of his natural gifts needed to become a rounded soloist. But McDuff is much more than a journeyman organist. He is one of the most vital blues players on any instrument, and has few equals in his knowledge of the harmonic makeup of standard songs. His example had to be important in Benson's growth.

Without getting into an enervating discussion of the merits of the performances on the records at hand, it is instructive to contemplate McDuff's solo on "Will You Still Be Mine," in which he swings his young colleague out of the room. At this stage, Benson was still bedeviled by an inability to make his notes last as long as he wanted them to, and had a way to go in interpreting standards at fast tempos. He does lovely things with "Easy Living," however, and McDuff gives us a relaxed glimpse of his former pianistic self. "The Party's Over" is an example of how this band could make practically any tune sound like the blues. And "Hippy Dip'"s ensemble sections, with only three voice instruments, have a density of sound one would expect from a much larger group.

The McDuff experience, naturally, made a solid impression in Benson. When he left the organist to form his own group, the instrumentation was the same, except that George used a baritone saxophonist instead of a tenor. Benson had wanted to work out some of his own ideas as a leader, and he did, beautifully. But the sound of the new Benson quartet was virtually that of "Rock-a-Bye" on his first album as a leader, the sound of the McDuff quartet.

With the formation of his first band, George Benson was off and running. Despite McDuff's assertion that his protege "hasn't looked back since," Benson has frequently been quoted as warmly remembering the days with Brother Jack. They were happy times in the careers of two fine musicians, and these recordings document some of that happiness.

-Doug Ramsey

  Соисполнители :

Joe Dukes (Drums)
Montego Joe (Percussion, Drums)
Red Holloway (Tenor Saxophone)
Ronnie Boykins (Bass)

№ п/п

Наименование трека



   1 Shadow Dancers         0:04:46 Benson
   2 The Sweet Alice Blues         0:04:38 -"-
   3 I Don't Know     T       0:06:50 -"-
   4 Just Another Sunday         0:03:03 -"-
   5 Will You Still Be Mine?         0:04:28 Adair, Dennis
   6 Easy Living     T       0:06:39 Rainger, Robin
   7 Rock-A-Bye         0:04:00 Benson
   8 Hot Barbecue         0:02:59 McDuff
   9 The Party's Over     T       0:06:48 Comden, Green, Styne
   10 Briar Patch         0:02:53 McDuff
   11 Hippy Dip         0:06:27 -"-
   12 601 1 / 2 North Poplar St.         0:04:14 -"-
   13 Cry Me A River         0:04:47 Hamilton
   14 The Three Day Thang         0:03:38 McDuff


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