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Non-Prog DVD/Video Reviews

George Benson

Live At Montreux 1986 DVD

Review by Gary Hill

As part of the Live at Montreux series, this DVD of George Bensen's 1986 performance has just been released. Bensen is sort of a paradox. It seems to me that a lot of hardcore jazz fans don't really put much stock in Bensen. Watching this performance, truly the only reason I can see for this is because of the fact that he has had popular success and that, from the point of view of some, makes him less legitimate. The truth of the matter is, the man truly smokes. Granted, not all of this music falls into the category of what I would think of as "jazz", but still a lot of it does. The man can play his guitar like few others - not necessarily flashy, but very tasty and always on the spot. He can also sing, even pulling off scat - not exactly an easy thing to do well.

The performance here is top notch, all of the musicians doing a great job of putting together a powerful and tight showing. The videography and sound are both very good, too. I suppose if there is one thing lacking in this DVD it's bonus features, but when you've got a live video as good as this one, who needs bonuses? This isn't perfect, but it is darned good. Jazz purists, give the man a break - he is really good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at

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