Thursday, April 1, 2010

SHM-CD of the Month - "George Benson In Concert"

SHM-CD of the Month
George Benson: "In Concert - Carnegie Hall" (CTI)

Produced by Creed Taylor
Engineered by Dave Hewitt and Rudy Van Gelder
Digitally Remastered for SHM-CD release by Rudy Van Gelder in 2009

Although this album has been reissued on CD several times, this is the first digital issue ever to include, as a bonus track, the track titled "Summertime/2001" which had been previously available only on vinyl format, on 12" maxi-singles and EPs released in the USA and Japan back in 1976. Thanks to our suggestion, that rare mix, which includes a brass section quoting the famous intro of Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra," is finally available on CD for CTI collectors (all previous CD issues included only the original LP mix, with the strings score, but without the brass section later added by David Matthews). Btw, we only regret that Matthews' name is not credited on the CD cover.

For Benson's fans not familiar with this album, it's worth to clarify that the four tracks originally included on the LP version were recorded live at Carnegie Hall, on January 11, 1975, with GB's touring band at that time: Ronnie Foster (Fender Rhodes), Wayne Dockery (bass), Marvin Chappell (drums) and Bernard Fennel (cello), plus special guest Hubert Laws, who does great flute solos on the mid-tempo bluesy theme "Gone" and the frenetic up-tempo "Octane," on which Ronnie Foster almost steals the show. Benson's highlight happens on "Take Five", though.

However, producer Creed Taylor later decided to overdub most of the drum and bass parts, inviting Steve Gadd (heard on "Summertime"), Andy Newmark ("Gone") and Will Lee (on both "Gone" and "Summertime") to the proceedings at Van Gelder Studio. He also added percussionists Ray Armando and Johnny Griggs ("Gone" and "Summertime"), deleting all Bernard Fennel's exquisite contributions. On "Summertime," the only vocal track, Creed asked David Matthews to create an orchestral score that could contribute to help make this track a radio hit. Judge for yourself.

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