George Benson: Sky Dive
George Benson (guitar)
George Benson in Concert Ė Carnegie Hall (CBS Associated 6009)
Wayne Dockery (bass), Will Lee (bass), Marvin Chapell (drums), Andy Newmark (drums), Ray Armando (percussion), Johnny Griggs (percussion).
Composed by Freddie Hubbard.
Recorded: Carnegie Hall, New York, January 11, 1975
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
Every set needs a burnout tune. At this 1975 Carnegie Hall concert, this was it. Benson takes Freddie Hubbardís "Sky Dive" to the stratosphere!
He states the melody as though he wrote it himself, using both single notes and chords, and Iím amazed every time I hear the knuckle-busting fills he twists between the phrases of the melody in the second and third A sections. His solo is nothing but masterful. He uses all the tools available to himósingle lines, double-stops, octaves, octaves with an added note (which would soon become one of his trademarks) and block chordsóto the most dramatically powerful effect, and evokes an incredible feeling of excitement on his instrument. Near the end of the solo, he reaches spiritual heights, wailing repeatedly on bent notes, in effect crying out. He had played everything else. There was nothing left to do.
I donít think there is another guitarist in jazz who has shown us how much emotional range and depth is accessible on the instrument. Because of the inherent characteristics of the classic jazz guitar sound (i.e., sans effects), at its best itís a satisfyingly warm, mellow and beautiful listening experience. But when itís time to burn or get down, often guitarists turn to effects to bolster themselves against the clean-toned guitarís physical challenges. This tune is a perfect example of the soaring heights that Benson could reach without the use of effects, via his superior talent, singular vision, musicianship and style.
Reviewer: Bobby Broom