Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vinyl Reissue of the Month - "George Benson: White Rabbit"

Vinyl Reissue of the Month
George Benson: "White Rabbit" (CTI/Sony Masterworks) 1972/2010

Produced by Creed Taylor
Engineered (recorded & mixed) by Rudy Van Gelder
Recorded on November 23, 24 & 30, 1971 at Van Gelder Studios (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey)
Cover Photo by Pete Turner
Album Design by Bob Ciano

Reissue produced by Richard Seidel
Vinyl cutting by Ray Janos @ Sterling Sound, NYC

Besides Benson's superbly thrilling "Whie Rabbit," which became an instant fusion classic, Sony Masterworks is also releasing 180-gram vinyl LP reissues of 3 other classic CTI items using the original gatefold sleeve designs accompanied with digital download cards: Stanley Turrentine’s "Sugar," Eumir Deodato's "Prelude" and Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay."

"White Rabbit" (recorded in 1971 & released in 1972) is George Benson’s masterpiece for CTI, featuring the signature title track arrangement of the Jefferson Airplane classic – a 1972 Grammy® nominee for Best Jazz Performance by a Group. Other highlights: "El Mar" (the only track with Earl Klugh) and a superb adaptation of Villa-Lobos' "Little Train," on which Herbie Hancock performs one of his best Fender Rhodes solos ever!

Arranged & conducted by Don Sebesky, it also includes nice renditions of Michel Legrand's love theme for the "Summer of '42" soundtrack (aka "The Summer Knows") and The Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreaming" (previously produced by Creed Taylor & arranged by Sebesky as an instrumental hit for Wes Montgomery's "California Dreaming" Verve album, back in 1966).

The all-star cast features Ron Carter (acoustic bass only), Billy Cobham (drums), Airto Moreira (not only as a percussionist but also providing subtle wordless vocals in several moments), John Frosk (lead trumpet on the title track), Hubert Laws (a short but perfect flute solo on "White Rabbit" too), and specially the Spanish-tinged acoustic guitar playing (in 4 of the 5 tracks) of the underrated master Jay Berliner, the unsung hero of this project.

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