During a fascinating walk between vineyards that exuded the history of a people, we spent a day that told us the history and evolution of a wonderful product, a wine that in many years changed, adapted but never switched its name, just evolving its characteristics. And as we are accustomed to do here at Ritmodivino, we left to the notes of an artist who in his musical career told the story of that music that has had a thousand facets and great evolutions, the task of inspiring us. Today we speak of the Falanghina of the Campi Flegrei of the “Cantine Astroni” and of the Jazz music of George Benson.
George Benson is a complex artist but at the same time simple and genuine. In his career he distinguished himself as an excellent guitarist but also a notable singer. With his music he managed to characterize all the musical periods that faced the world, either as experience or research. For this reason, Benson reported in all his albums the various evolutions and contaminations that jazz music lived. Loved and hated, appreciated and brought to glory as the new Wes Montgomery but criticized by so many for being too pop in some record works.
To understand this artistic “evolution” we go through and listen to three fundamental albums of George Benson’s discography.
Giblet Gravy published in 1968 is Benson’s first record: closing his eyes, he lets himself be catapulted into a typical New Orleans jazz club, the sounds and the choice of the songs fully evoke the musical life that was savored in the years 60/70. With a formation that boasted names of the most important musicians of the time, Benson gives us the proof of being a connoisseur and a connoisseur of the jazz musical tradition by proposing standard of the caliber of “Sunny”, “Billie’s Bounce”, “What’s New” with typical licks and Perfect Interplay. A great band behind put together to enhance the guitar giving a warm and sweet atmosphere. George Benson’s work is tasty and irresistibly melodic.
Give Me The Night was released in 1980: In this disc Benson begins to propose himself in a more incisive way as a singer who knows how to enchant with his incredible voice. Benson uncovers all his vocal resources, demonstrating to possess the same technical fluency of the best jazz vocalist of the time and being considered a formidable rival of Al Jarreau.
In This record Benson’s guitar plays a second stage role only two of the ten songs are instrumental. However, these stylistic choices made Benson very criticized. He had a breaking point with all his production of his previous years. All the warm and soft sounds of the jazz seem a distant memory for that audience that learned to love him and follow him.
This album represented the great attention that George Benson posed in the evolution of the musical world of those years, as a demonstration of being able to make a great album “Pop” cared for in detail and played by musicians of the highest level.
Absolute Benson is the album of the Mature Benson, year of publication 2000. The jazz guitarist returns to his origins realizing, in collaboration with very important musicians, one of his most beautiful albums. He reads back, in his way, some classics of recent past alongside new compositions. Benson gives again a great attention to the guitar but does not put aside the singing voice, and he rather reaches the right to blend his songs on the guitar.
Very often you may get confused, because you do not know if he accompanies himself with the voice or with the guitar. In This work Benson returns to the origins also proposing great masterpieces of the past but with sonority of the present, satisfying all his audience: from what criticized him to those who have always loved him. Even the title of the disc speaks clear “absolute Benson” is the essence of the artistic evolution of this great musician.
We have been accompanied and influenced by the music of this great artist who has evolved his music in many years of career during our tasting at the “Cantine” the same evolution that we found in sampling the Falanghina of Campi Flegrei produced by the Varchetta family.