George Benson: Soulful Strut


Soulful Strut


George Benson (guitar)


Liviní Inside Your Love (Warner Bros 2-3277)

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George Benson (guitar), Ronnie Foster (keyboards), Phil Upchurch (rhythm guitar), Will Lee (bass), Steve Gadd (drums), Ralph MacDonald (percussion),

Jorge Dalto (keyboards), unknown strings


Conducted by Claus Ogerman


Recorded: 1978


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Back in 1968, this tune was an instrumental pop/soul radio hit. George and company must have felt, Ďif it ainít broke, donít fix it,í as they were rolliní along and seemed to be enjoying the ride, since they had found the formula for success. Even Claus Ogermanís strings in the opening statement give more than a nod to the intro of one of their other hits from a previous album or two. But I guess thatís human nature even for jazz musiciansógo with what works (at least until it becomes stale).

Benson and his group are all settled in and cozily familiar with their own sound and feel. Everything fits (from the blend of the instrumentsí sounds and their parts in this feel-good arrangement, to the overall sound of the production) for Georgeís guitar to stand out front and carry the track home, which he does with polish and energy, in his unmistakable style. The backbeat, clavinet, and strings may have led some jazz fans to turn away, concluding that his jazz days were over. But the sense of authority and surefooted pacing with which he plays at this point in his career, coupled with the knowledge, energy and excitement of his jazz mentality, and his even more accurate, ridiculous technique, leads me to say: they donít know what theyíre missing.

Reviewer: Bobby Broom

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