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Non-Prog CD Reviews

George Benson

Breezin' (Hybrid Multichannel SACD)

Review by Gary Hill

I remember hearing the title track to this album on the radio all the time in the 1970s. I also remember a lot of jazz fans disregarding George Benson. Sure, this is essentially smooth jazz, but it’s good music. It’s entertaining. In the end, that’s really what makes this work. It is just nice to listen to. This is a new audiophile recording. It’s a limited edition numbered disc and sounds great. I’m glad I got to check this long forgotten set out again. I really enjoy it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review

The title track is Benson’s best known tune. It’s smooth jazz stylings still work great today. I’ll say that, in fact, the passing of time has made it more effective. That’s because there was a time when this was very much overplayed. Now, with some breathing room, it just works better.

This Masquerade
A section featuring scat singing opens this tune. It grows out from there with that element still prominently displayed. Around the one minute mark it gets lyrical vocals. In a lot of ways this feels like a jazz version of Stevie Wonder to me. Of course, it’s actually a Leon Russell song. It is classy stuff no matter who wrote it.
Six To Four
Although it’s a bit more energized, this has a lot in common with the opener. It’s cut from a lot of the same cloth. This instrumental has some great jamming and some nice changes.
Now, this one really does feel a lot like the title track. It’s got some great guitar soloing. It’s a fun little smooth jazz number and I like it a lot.        
So This is Love?
Although there are no huge changes here, this one just seems to have more fire and passion to it. It’s actually a bit of a screamer with much more energy. I like this tune a lot. In fact, it’s one of my favorites here.    
Energized smooth jazz, this isn’t much different from the rest. Then again, when it’s this good, who cares?   
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