George Benson
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Buy *Benson: The Autobiography* by George Bensono nline

Benson: The Autobiography
George Benson
Da Capo Press
256 pages
August 2014
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Though George Benson is probably best known for his lighter, pop-tinged arrangements on tracks from his Breezin' album, the Pittsburgh-born guitarist is a child prodigy who was playing with the likes of organist Jack McDuff at an early age. He was 21 when he recorded his debut album as a solo artist (The New Boss Guitar) and while still a young musician was employed by Miles Davis in the mid-1960s to play on "Paraphernalia," a track from his Miles in the Sky album.

All of that is detailed in Benson's self-written history. The musician writes about crossing over from jazz/soul into mainstream pop and all the attendant attention that comes with success. He also talks about the darker moments of his life, including the demands on his home life from constantly touring, his bout with domestic abuse, illness, and the tragic lives of his musician friends. Here is a brief excerpt talking about cutting the song "This Masquerade":

For example, during the playback of 'This Masquerade,' I told him, 'There's something about this vocal I'm not digging. I never liked the sound of my voice. It's got too much low end in it. It saturates the tape, and it takes away from all the other instruments."

Nodding, he said, 'I feel you. We can do something about that, man, no problem.' Then he clicked a few hertz off of the bottom end. And wow, there it was, the sound I'd been hearing in my head but had never heard through the speakers.'
This is a remarkable tale of a truly gifted virtuoso who has been making music for over 50 years. Those five decades are finally brought into focus by the one man who knows more about George Benson than anybody in the world.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2014

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