George Benson: Ready and Able
Ready and Able
George Benson (guitar)
The George Benson Cookbook (Columbia Legacy CK 66054)
Burt Collins (brass), Joe Shepley (brass), Wayne Andre (brass), Alan Raph, (brass), Buddy Lucas (reeds), Chares Covington (organ), Johnny Pacheco (congas).
Arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky.
Recorded: New York, August 1, 1966
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
After the crisp execution of this Jimmy Smith-penned melody on the chords of "I Got Rhythm," itís equally exciting to hear Bensonís comping behind Ronnie Cuberís baritone solo. Itís a lesson in taste and subtlety, as well as an indication of why a musicianís rhythmic feel is so important. Although Georgeís chordal ideas are voluminous, theyíre most properly placed (in both rhythm and octave range) to excite and propel the music and seemingly always relevant in those same ways to the drama of the soloistís phrases.
Bensonís solo takes the excitement level up even more, which is quite a feat considering the superb solo it follows. Iím particularly fond of his harmonic vision here, which makes what and how he plays on these changes seem very unique and personal to him. As always, his command of the jazz idiom and syntax, and how he chooses to fuse these with blues and R&B leanings to form a distinctive and influential jazz guitar style, is apparent. A much more obvious observation, though, is that his technique here is simply mind-boggling. What makes this solo so breathtaking has less to do with how fast or lengthy his lines are, than how he is able to think and hear ahead in order to shape finely crafted melodic ideas through the chord progressions. The component that completes his stunning technique is the quicksilver response and coordination that allows him to execute so flawlessly.
Reviewer: Bobby Broom
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