Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
Listen to Samples
Actually, closer to 2 1/2 stars...
Robert Hecht | New York | 10/25/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This CD combines tracks from the two albums George Benson recorded for Verve in 1968, just a few months before he began a fruitful association with A&M/CTI Records. The track list includes several hits of the days, which have since become timeless classics... Not as done by George Benson though.
These versions of "Sunny", "Natural Woman" and "People Get Ready" are all decent enough in a late-60's mellow-jazz-goes-pop way. This formula apparently had a large enough audience at the time to sway great Jazz labels, such as Verve and Blue Note, to produce innumerable albums of pop-hits, as done by legendary musicians, such as Count Basie, Hank Mobley and Jimmy Smith, to mixed results.
It wasn't until a couple years later that CTI started putting out some of the best jazzed up and funky covers of rock/pop songs, featuring all-star line-ups, with Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock and various other greats present more often than not.
Creed Taylor's crisp production, that's missing on this George Benson compilation, materialized on a 1969 LP "The Other Side of Abbey Road" (A&M), covering most of the songs from The Beatles' "Abbey Road" (recorded just weeks after that album came out). With crisp jamming, great arrangements and nice orchestrations, that album is easily recommended as introduction to George Benson's pre-smooth jazz work.
As it stands, this compilation is a good enough sampling of Benson's late 60's work, with one track, "Some of My Best Friends Are Blues", being an odd inclusion, as it is a Jimmy Smith live blues jam, with Benson as a featured (though hardly) guitarist.
Recommended, if found cheap."