Not sure if you’ve heard of George Benson, but apparently he’s new and very exciting:
“Jaguar” George Benson 1966
As it turns out, he’s not new: this original instrumental is from 1966 album, It’s Uptown. But he’s still exciting to listen to nearly 50 years later.
I love the opening salvo of the liner notes:
“George Benson was never the same again: he had heard a record by guitarist Hank Garland.”
The liner notes go on to say:
“Garland, usually a Country blues musician, had made an album for Columbia with drummer Joe Morello [Dave Brubeck Group] and vibraphonist Gary Burton, in which they played some beautiful jazz. At that time Benson was eighteen, working around Pittsburgh, his hometown, with a rock ‘n’ roll band. And he was intelligent enough to realize that there was a lot of music he hadn’t heard yet.”
Produced by (the legendary talent scout) John Hammond, the album was released in the US, UK, Canada, Europe, Japan — and Saudi Arabia, interestingly.
George Benson: guitar
Lonnie Smith: organ
Ron Cuber: baritone sax
Jimmy Lovelace: drums
Ray Lucas: *drums (on the “rock ‘n’ roll” tracks)