George Benson – Live In London (LP – ENG review)

Mascot Label Group – Available
George Benson - Live In London (LP)

Imagine for a moment, you’re in London at Ronnie Scott’s, the lights come on, and the cheerful George Benson starts off with the opening track “Give Me The Night” – we all danced to it in the 80s. Here, over time, George Benson presents a more rock-infused version that drives us crazy, and it’s so good that a plethora of images rush through our minds. Especially since Benson has returned to the club where his career began to record this magnificent album.
What a journey it has been since the 70s, having managed to establish his style, marked by the exceptionally high quality of his compositions and his masterful performances. We’re delighted to see that this exceptional artist has not only retained his genius but also has the ability to offer us a fresh perspective on his works.
What sets this artist apart is his ability to make everyone love jazz by presenting a popular yet intricate vision of it. It’s the immense generosity of this artist that has added an incredible charisma to his art, which is palpable even in his voice. Moments like George Benson interacting with his audience haven’t been cut from this recording; it’s truly an authentic sonic document we’re treated to.
Fourteen tracks unfold, ranging from the most rhythmically charged to the tenderest and most poetic. One can’t help but admire the overall quality of these tracks, especially given that the setlist was put together with great intelligence and an excellent balance between well-known and lesser-known titles. In this live rendition, each song takes on a special quality.
Witnessing this mega star facing an awestruck audience of 250 people at the prestigious London haunt, Ronnie Scott’s, is a sight to behold. “I love this kind of intimacy,” Benson remarks about his brief visit to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, captured on this year’s electrifying live album, “Weekend In London.” “I can feel the love when it’s up close and personal,” declares Benson…
It’s easy to imagine, as you can hear in his voice, that desire to give his all to the audience. This live album is less polished than his studio albums, probably because, with such a lengthy career, Benson feels free from the pressures of success. Nowadays, all you have to do is mention “Benson, the jazz guitarist” to someone; if they don’t recognize it, it’s likely they’re from Generation Z or later…
So, if you want to have one of the best albums of the 2023 season in your hands, don’t hesitate to dive into this album that the editors of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move have deemed “Essential”.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, August 12th 2023


To buy the LP

1. Give Me The Night
2. Turn Your Love Around
3. Love X Love
4. In Your Eyes
5. I Hear You Knocking
6. Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You
7. Feel Like Makin’ Love
8. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
9. The Ghetto
10. Moody’s Mood
11. Love Ballad
12. Never Give Up On A Good Thing
13. Affirmation
14. Cruise Control