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Benson: The Autobiography Hardcover – August 26, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"George Benson has quite a story to tell, and I'm sure his life will be an inspiration to many. He's a formidable talent as a guitarist and singer, and the stories surrounding his rise to fame are quite intriguing."—Herbie Hancock

"For as long as I've known him—and we're talking over forty years—George Benson has demonstrated an uncanny ability to tell beautiful, exciting, interesting, musical stories with both his guitar and his singing, so it's no surprise that Benson: The Autobiography—a book that's been a long time coming—is full of beautiful, exciting, interesting, musical stories. To paraphrase George himself, this book will put you over the moon!"—Quincy Jones

"Guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, entertainer: George Benson truly is a man of a thousand talents, each more wonderful than the last. And now you can add author to the list."—Al Jarreau

"The funny, colorful stories in George's wonderful memoir made me want to go and play some guitar and bass songs with him, just like in the old days."—Ron Carter

No Echo
“A perfect gift for the jazzbo in your life.”

The New York City Jazz Record, October 2014
“This is a breezy tome that reads with the elegant ease and straightforward earnestness of one of its author’s soulful guitar solos. Unsurprisingly, the jazz world’s best-known crossover artist presents his life story in an accessible, conversational manner akin to the relaxed delivery of his many Grammy Award-garnering vocalizations…insightful…entertaining….Benson: The Autobiography is fun from start to finish.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/28/14
“One might have expected Mr. Benson to focus primarily on his decades of stardom, touching only briefly on his roots. Fortunately for jazz and for Pittsburgh, it’s the other way around.”

Record Collector, December 2014
“An engaging read.”

Downbeat, December 2014
“It’s a breezy memoir…The book has a friendly, conversational tone throughout…fans who want to learn more about the career of one of jazz’s most popular artists will enjoy the ride.”

BackstageAxxess, 12/18/14
"Very well done and filled with amusing and informative anecdotes. Even if you don't know much about jazz, you'll come away with a greater sense and understanding of this important music.”

About the Author

George Benson, a ten-time Grammy Award-winner and National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master, is one of the three bestselling jazz artists of all time. He lives in Arizona with his wife, Johnnie.

www.GeorgeBenson.com
Twitter: @GBguitar
Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeorgeBenson


Alan Goldsher is a music and culture writer and the author of eleven books. His music journalism has appeared in Bass Player and Guitar Player, and his sportswriting has been featured in ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, NBA.com, and ChicagoBulls.com. He lives in Chicago.

www.AlanGoldsher.com
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 26, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306822296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306822292
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alan Goldsher is the author of ten novels, including "Paul Is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion" (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster), "A Game of Groans" (St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books, as George R.R. Washington), and "My Favorite Fangs: The Story of the von Trapp Family Vampires" (St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books). Written as A.M. Goldsher, his chicklit books "The True Naomi Story," "Reality Check," "Today's Special," and "No Ordinary Girl" were released by Little Black Dress Books in the U.K. and Marabout in France between 2008-2011. His non-fiction titles include "Hard Bop Academy: The Sidemen of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers" and "Modest Mouse: A Pretty Good Read."

As a ghostwriter, Alan has collaborated on projects with numerous celebrities and public figures, including actor/comedian Kevin Pollak ("A Few Good Men," "The Usual Suspects"), film director Tobe Hooper ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), Chef Stephanie Izard, and jazz guitarist/vocalist George Benson.

His music journalism has appeared in Bass Player and Guitar Player, and his sportswriting has been seen in ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, NBA.com, and ChicagoBulls.com. He also reviews books for Kirkus.

During his 10-plus years as a professional bassist, Goldsher recorded with Janet Jackson, Cypress Hill, and Naughty by Nature; toured the world with Digable Planets; and performed at the 1994 Grammy Awards.

Alan lives and writes in Chicago. Visit him at http://www.AlanGoldsher.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fred68 on August 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I eagerly awaited the release of George's autobiography, and it was an enjoyable read. Why only three stars? At just over two hundred pages (with fairly large type), it is simply too brief. George is a good storyteller, and sixty percent of the narrative concerns his career from 1963 through 1979, the part of his story that I was most interested in learning more about. He could have easily doubled the number of pages devoted to it. So while I recommend this book, I do have to say that I went away wanting much more.

Also, this is the story of George Benson's musical life, not his personal one. If you want to read about many of the baaaaad cats he has played with, you will find it here. If you are more interested in his family life, etcetera, you won't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vincent V. Kowski on September 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A friend of mine turned me on to George Benson when I was 18 the year his White Rabbit album came out. That record completely blew my mind. That day I walked away from Rock & Roll. George Benson is the reason I am a jazz guitarist to this day. I have spent my whole life trying to be half the guitar player that George is. Been to countless GB concerts and always walk away completely blown away. George is a super hero to me. I loved his book. I read it in 2 days. I could not put it down. I wish it was 2,000 pages instead of 200 but still a fantastic read. George is one of the last walking history books on jazz artists of the past. He tells his musical story in that wonderful 60's jazz lingo that makes it a joy to read. George worked with some pretty nasty cats in his career but always finds a way to say something positive about them. George is a very Godly man and I have found that all the greatest musicians have a close walk with the Lord. I meet Barney Kessel once and asked him how I could get better playing guitar and he told me to get close to God. The Lord certainly gave the world a great gift by the name of George Benson. If you are a George Benson fan (who isn't) get this book !!!! It is a real fun read. Thank you so much Mr.Benson.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Broenkow on September 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Mr. Benson for over forty years and I thought that I had a pretty good grasp of his accomplishments. He has done so much more than I had realized. I didn't know much about his hardships throughout the years. I did not know that he was marked for execution by a government, shot by police, and had done time! It is amazing that he came out the other side as such an exemplary person who through much frustration has become such a beacon to the music world.
The book is an honest read that exposes salient experiences so completely! George Benson's Autobiography mixes humor with heartbreak along the way to his ultimate success. A true lesson to the kids out there!
Do pick it up!
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Format: Hardcover
This is the first real look at Benson and jazz and it's a good start as far as it goes. It reads like you're having a relaxed conversation with Benson as he reminisces about various musicians, gigs, and other things he's seen and heard across his life in music. But to often he stops short of really talking in-depth about a particular subject (musician, music, gig, etc,) and begins another train of thought. This book could've been twice the number of pages with Benson relating stories and observations about jazz in general from his many years in music, and would've been that much better.

''This is a (mostly) chronological look at Benson, his music, and other jazz musicians. And those three areas deserve much more depth than what's here. And while the book is an enjoyable, interesting, and (sometimes) informative read, too often you're left wishing Benson would continue talking about this musician, this particular tune, or that gig. He touches on all these areas but (at least for me, a jazz/Benson guitar fan) I was continually frustrated that he didn't go further. It's obvious he has seen and heard, and played a great deal throughout his many years of gigging around the world--from small clubs to large stages--and as jazz fans we deserve more of his insights and observations. Included is a section of b&w photos that help add some depth to the text which is a plus.

If you're a Benson/jazz fan-- read this book--it's worthwhile. Just don't expect an in-depth, insightful look at both Benson and jazz. This is more like a "teaser". It whets your appetite for more, but Benson keeps much to much to himself about his career and jazz in general. Someone needs to write a definitive book on Benson, his music, the many musicians he's come in contact with, and the era. A musician of Benson's stature surely deserves it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SLG on August 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I've been a rabid fan of this amazing musician since I was a kid. I frequently attend his concerts, but didn't know a lot about his life as a kid. I enjoyed learning more about this mysterious master of guitar.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've probably been to as many George Benson
concerts as George himself. Begining when I
15 yrs old and seeing him live for the first time.
There was a jazz club in my neighborhood called
the York club. There were probably only seven people total in the club that night. Geeorge, his
organist and drummer; me, my sister and a buddy of mine; and the bar tender. That was it.
But George Benson played like he was at Carnegie Hall with a full house. He played so
much guitar I can still see and hear it in my mind
today 45 yrs later. He even let my buddy and I
get on stage during intermission and play a tune
on his guitar and organ. A few years later just
before Breezin hit he performed at a club in Hermosa Beach Ca. I got there early and was sitting by the door waiting. George walks up with his equipment and asked me if i would watch it for him so he could go get something to eat. I said sure and he left. I felt the greatest privilege
and honor had been given me. The opportunity
to watch the great George Bensons guitar and amp. The story doesn't end there (I guess I should write my own GB book). When he returned, he asked if I had a car because he
needed a ride to his hotel that was close by.
I said sure. I took him there, waited and returned
him to the club. I was on cloud nine...thousand!
My idol riding in my (raggedy) car. He played
the concert an of course tore the place apart.
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