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Bebop Spoken There

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In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

CD Review: George Benson: Inspiration: A Tribute To Nat King Cole

George Benson (vocals); The Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, Conductor Randy Waldman;  Wynton Marsalis and Till Bronner (trumpets); Idina Menzel and Judith Hill (additional vocals)
(Review by Ann Alex)
I was fascinated to read in the CD insert that Nat King Cole actually started out as a jazz pianist and George Benson was originally a jazz guitarist (you probably all know this!).  Benson was born in 1943, just as Cole was starting to make it as a singer.  The CD is historically interesting for me as I remember, as a child, hearing Cole on the radio and absorbing the songs without realising that I was doing so.  I need hardly say that this is a very worthwhile compilation, with fine big band playing, short solos from trumpet, piano and, naturally, guitar. and very pleasing singing from Benson and the two ladies who join him for duets on some tracks.  Benson manages to stamp his own identity on these immortal songs without losing the spirit of the originals.
Blog readers will want to know exactly what is on a CD such as this.  It begins charmingly with a snatch of a young George Benson, voice not yet broken, singing a snatch of Mona Lisa, which shows that this lad, as he was then, could sing expressively.  The CD continues with Just One Of Those Things; Unforgettable; Walkin’ My Baby; When I Fall In Love; Route 66; Nature Boy; Ballerina; Smile; Straighten Up And Fly Right; Too Young; I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter; Mona Lisa (grown up version)
I have a special interest in song lyrics, and there was plenty to notice.  Walkin’ My Baby evokes courtship as it was in the 1950s or so, when young people lived with their parents before marriage; I’d never listened properly to the words of Nature Boy before, it has an almost mythical quality; and I hadn’t realised that Route 66 was such an old song, and very evocative of the USA.  This latter track had an effective piano solo and an appropriate walking bass, or should I say a travelling bass.  And I wonder, was I imagining the band doing twisty pirouette rhythms on Ballerina?
I think Nat King Cole would have been well pleased with this tribute.
Release date is June 3 on Concord Records.  George Benson is on a world tour this year – see www.georgebenson.com/tourdates.
Ann Alex    

1 comment :

Jim Fay (on F/b) said...

I've always just thought of him as a pretty fair jazz guitarist, but he's not a bad singer either is he?

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