George Benson in session

I’m pruning my large CD library, archiving some discs and preparing to give away or sell others. I’m grabbing information off of those enhanced discs which were seemingly popular around 2000. I uploaded this clip of George Benson, Joe Sample and Christian McBride from a session from Absolute Benson, a good George Benson recording from the year 2000.

George Benson Autobiography

George Benson autobiography book cover

I’m looking forward to reading this. Labeling Benson as the “first true (and truly successful) jazz/soul crossover artist” does make you think. Usually, I’m skeptical of definitive statements like that but I can’t find a better example when you factor in the chart success he had. I wish some sort of box set or ultimate collection of his music would come out at the same time as the book.

Benson is available now.

My First Guitar

George Benson is one of the 70 top-notch guitarists interviewed for My First Guitar, a new book by Julia Crowe. The musicians share memories of the first time they picked up the instrument, including the challenges and successes. I can just image the smiles on some of those guys faces when they were reminiscing.

New Incognito, Benson/Jarreau, Madlib/Norah Jones, and More!

Bees + Things + Flowers from IncognitoBluey = Busy. Incognito’s Eleven just hit stores in the States earlier this year but the band has already recorded a new album that is scheduled for release in October (in the UK)! Beyond that, Bluey plans to hit the studio again later this year for yet another new CD for early next year! According to the Incognito site http://www.incognito.org.uk/, this fall’s Bees + Things + Flowers is a mostly acoustic affair with a 16-piece string section. Vocalists on it include Jocelyn Brown, Maysa, Imaani, and Carleen Anderson. I heard a stripped-down Incognito recently on an XM special and it was impressive. I won’t wait for the possibility that it will be distributed here – this is a guaranteed import.

George Benson and Al Jarreau have teamed for a new release. Givin’ It Up will be out on October 24th from the Concord Music Group and Monster Music, the newly created record division of high-end audio supplier Monster Cable. Monster Music will make Givin’ It Up available in a fancy High Definition Surround SuperDisc package that you should be able to hear in the home audio section of your favorite big box store. There are thirteen tracks on the recording and the guest list is awesome: Paul McCartney, Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Jill Scott, Stanley Clarke, and more. Concord’s site has more info.

Classic Picante Regrooved Vol. 1Also on the topics of collaborations and legendary soul jazz artists: Randy Crawford and Joe Sample reunite on Feeling Good, out later this month (distributed by Universal). No Stateside release date is listed on Amazon . . . Madlib produces Norah Jones? Believe it! This from a Stones Throw Records email: “Madlib produces Talib Kweli and Norah Jones on Kweli’s upcoming album to be released this fall” . . . Stanton Moore has signed with Telarc. His new release, III, is out on September 26. . . . Over a year since it was originally announced, Explorations: Classic Picante Regrooved Vol. 1 finally sees the light of day on August 29. The Latin jazz label’s catalog is remixed by producers Masters at Work, Thievery Corporation, Cut Chemist, Dan the Automator, Carl Cox, Los Amigos Invisibles, Hex Hector, Ozomatli, and Yerba Buena. Looking forward to this! I’m encouraged that Concord has labeled this “Vol. 1”.