Jazz icon George Benson has just released a new live album. It was recorded at an intimate show at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club in London in 2019. Produced by Joe Bonamassa’s producer, Kevin Shirley it’s a great intimate live album. George Benson really shows why he’s such a legendary jazz musician with his beautiful smooth vocals and great guitar playing.
With most bands in other genres, the live songs are generally fairly similar to the album versions with maybe a few tweaks such as a longer solo, but with Jazz in general and George Benson in particular improvisation is standard, so the songs can sound quite different to the recorded versions. “Basically, the whole show is improvised except the melody itself and the ensemble playing,” George Benson explains. “We play the arrangements, to remind the audience what song they’re listening to, but then we can go crazy and do all the improvisation.”
In terms of the setlist there are some fan favourites – like any other musician with a long career he knows there are songs fans won’t be happy to see missed off the setlist, but those songs are mixed in with other material such as covers of Dave Bartholomew’s “I Hear You Knocking” and Donny Hathaway’s “The Ghetto”. One song that caught me out was “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You” which I associate with Glenn Medeiros who had a massive hit with it, but it was actually written by George Benson and released a couple of years before Glenn Medeiros covered it.
ok this isn’t a typical album to see reviewed on Planetmosh, but it’s nice to occasionally throw in something a bit random, and this really is an excellent album with world class musicianship. It’s a great album to relax to before putting on something nice and heavy and loud to remind your neighbours that you’re still a metalhead.
1. Give Me The Night
2. Turn Your Love Around
3. Love X Love
4. In Your Eyes
5. I Hear You Knocking
6. Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You
7. Feel Like Makin’ Love
8. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
9. The Ghetto
10. Moody’s Mood
11. Love Ballad
12. Never Give Up On A Good Thing
14. Cruise Control