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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Givin' It Up' (Concord Records)
Artist - George Benson & Al Jarreau

At a time when artists over the age of 40 are relegated to doing albums of covers or remakes of their past hits, Benson and Jarreau put a spin on the concept along with a few twists largely to great results. Starting with Jarreau's take on Benson's, "Breezin" and Benson's take on Jarreau's "Mornin'," George and Al follow up with other covers including an outstanding version of "God Bless the Child" featuring vocals by Jill Scott and a "surprise" vocal performance by Sir Paul McCartney on Sam Cooke's, "Bring It On Home to Me" that ends with an unexpected gospel vamp. These tracks along with the orignal compositions written mostly by Jarreau, including my favorite, "Let It Rain," featuring the fantastic Patti Austin, highlight what would of been a predictable set by two jazz legends. Instead Benson and Jarreau demonstate that they are still relevant in today's market and overall provide a lesson for some of the "new stars," as George refers to in the liner notes, on just how contemporary jazz should be done. Hopefully this is just the beginning and other Benson/Jarreau collaborations to come. I can't imagine a better modern jazz album than this!