George Benson wants that 'Breezin' ' feeling again

April 10, 1992|By Amanda Barrett | Amanda Barrett,Orlando Sentinel

Silky-voiced jazz singer/guitarist George Benson is talking long distance from somewhere in New Jersey. Just don't ask what city.

"No, no, no," he said, laughing, "don't print where I live. Charities will be after me to play benefits, and I'll end up with thousands of letters from people wanting me to make them a star."

If the longtime star is reticent about divulging details concerning his offstage life, he says he compensates on stage by giving his fans what they want to hear -- his hits.

Those songs -- "On Broadway," "This Masquerade," "Give Me the Night," "Livin' Inside Your Love," among them -- topped the jazz, pop and urban-contemporary charts in the '70s and early '80s.

His "Breezin' " album in 1976 won three Grammy Awards and remains the best-selling jazz album of all time, selling more than 6 million copies. "This Masquerade," from that album, became the first song in music history to hold the No. 1 spot on the jazz, pop and R&B charts.

Mr. Benson's reputation as a talented guitarist grew in the '60s and early '70s, and he played on a number of albums -- including those by such greats as Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis.

But it was "Breezin' " that catapulted his career.

Now, Mr. Benson is in the studio trying to recapture the "good vibes"that were present on that album.

For the as-yet-untitled recording, Mr. Benson has assembled musician friends he has worked with in the past, including Ronnie Foster, Randy Waldman, Will Lee, Stanley Banks and Bob James to create an album that is "not up-tempo but a George Benson sound," he said.

The project, he said, will feature both instrumental and vocal cuts.

He expects the album to be completed this month and released this summer.

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