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Absolute Benson [Enhanced CD] Enhanced

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, May 23, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

George Benson has been threatening to record a serious guitar album for years, and he's finally done it. Absolute Benson is 99.9 percent pure jazz guitar as only this master of the instrument can produce. Recalling Benson's CTI output of the 1970s, Absolute Benson features his lyrical, logical, and often emotional playing in mellow, groove-a-licious arrangements. Taking a cue from Santana and Louie Vega (who produced a couple of tracks here), Benson starts off AB with the percolating Latin bump of Donny Hathaway's "The Ghetto" and its companion piece, "El Barrio." Benson does scat and sing here, but after his smooth crooning and Joe Sample's funky electric piano, Benson's nimble fingers take flight and never touch down. AB includes the blistering burn of "El Barrio," the burnished tones and smooth Brazilian swing of "Jazzenco," the Wes Montgomery-style chordal work of "Deeper Than You Think," the bittersweet jazz waltz "One on One," the cosmopolitan "Hipping the Hop," and the deep-funk closer "Medicine Man." AB is commercial, so don't expect any burning hard bop or samba madness. But Benson's guitar work is so liquid and gorgeous, it's simply wonderful to hear him cut loose and really play with musicians--Ricky Petersen, Steve Gadd, Luis Conte, Christian McBride--who know how to work the edges of the soul-jazz groove. --Ken Micallef
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 23, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: May 23, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: GRP
  • ASIN: B00004SST6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,228 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on October 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Its been years since I've bought a George Benson album. Having been a fan of his guitar virtuosity from the days of White Rabbit and Good King Bad, I was dismayed by his seemingly permanent move to the world of disco and soft jazz/soul. The teaser for Absolute Benson promised a taste of the old days once again so I was lured into buying the album. Well, it took a few listens to appreciate what George was doing here. It is not like the days of long ago, but neither is Absolute Benson like the disco pop atrocities of the late 70s-80s. That veteran producer Tommy LiPuma is here is a plus, so is the presence of keyboard master Joe Sample. As it turns out, Absolute Benson is an enjoyable mixture of jazz and blues with just enough guitar heroics to evoke the days of old, but also enough understatement to let you know that this is a new day. The album is smooth enough to play at the office, yet generates enough musical energy to make it perfect background for a party. My favorite cuts are the last two, the bluesy Come Back Baby and the George Benson-Joe Sample composition Medicine Man. If you are an old time fan who has been ambivalent about the musical path Benson has taken, its time to shake it off because he proves here that he's still cookin'.
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Format: Audio CD
....well, almost. This isn't a return to his be-bop roots and the great music he made in the late Sixties. However, he does demonstrate his technical excellence on Absolute Benson with some great soloing. It's almost all instrumental, but the vocals are pretty impressive too - the Donny Hathaway cover - The Ghetto - is a good example of this. Benson also covers material by Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Marc Antoine. Other features are the prevalent influence of Joe Sample and the involvement of Masters At Work (the best guys in the business). This will probably be popular with radio, and confirm George Benson as the doyen of smooth jazz musicians.
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Format: Audio CD
Its a Sunday, MY day of rest and this particluar Sunday following a very long hard working Saturday where I was working as a festival organizer. I had Jazz playing from one of the Jazz music audio channels off Dish Network Satalite. And I heard this booming sound!
I was in a deep sleep and was dreaming some music only this music picked me up out of my deep sleep and grabbed my attention! I had to grab the remote, turn on the television to read the display and find out what song was playing. I already knew it was George!, but I had to get the details. The song was El Barrio!
One song so damn good and "Absolute" pure, without a doubt powerful BENSON, that as far as I am concerned, SOLD! And I am out my door within minutes and getting this CD. It is a MUST have not only if you are a Benson fan, or a music fan!
Thanks Amazon.com for offering ALL of the sound clips. If my local store in the MALL (I live in a small town) does not have this, I will order it from here ASAP. But I'll pay the Mall prices for this one. And those who know me know thats me saying a lot for any CD that I buy.
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Format: Audio CD
This album will truly become a George Benson classic! Once again Mr. Benson shows why he is so often imitated by others. I need not mention no names. His back up support players are proven perfomers in their own right, which adds to the total enjoyment of the album. I predict a Grammy for this one.
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Format: Audio CD
As one of my good friends put it, 'Absolute Benson is the best Joe Sample CD I've heard in a while'! Not being critical at all, because I absolutely (get it?, absolutely!) love this CD. But, with Joe Sample adding his expertise to every track (check the liner notes), this is more a compilation than a solo endeavor. No matter what, it is Jazz at it's best. Lovin' it and playin' it to death!
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Format: Audio CD
I have been following Benson for many years. That means going to concerts (he has been consistently coming to Spain to perform, others don't even bother), listening to interviews, and of course buying his music.
On an interview from a couple of years ago, he mentioned that he would go to Cuba to experience more closely latin music, and that his follow up to "Standing together" would be latin oriented. The result is that he partly kept his word, since there are two very latin tunes (El barrio and The Ghetto), and the rest is very very jazzy. He teams up with institutions such as Joe Sample, Christian McBride and Stevie Gadd, thus the result is excellent for purists. Also note that the production is from Tommy Lipuma on the jazzy tracks. Gone the commercial music that made him worldwide popular, and back to the roots (have you heard old albums of his like "Cheshire Cat"?). So don't be mislead by the label "Smooth jazz". It's not, and it might make believe that this is similar to Kenny "Beurk!" G., or Boney James. It's jazz, with a couple of latin rythmic tracks, period. The El Barrio mix isn't my favourite, although done by two masters, namely "Masters at Work", who have a great cd called "nuyorican soul". Just focus on the first nine tracks and enjoy it !
For the fun of it, this enhanced cd contains a nice surprise : a recording session that shows up in video. Just click on the right buttons of your computer and enjoy it.
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