Title - 'Weekend in London'
Artist - George Benson
If you are not in the know, on November 13th, 2020, GRAMMY-winning jazz icon George Benson will release Weekend in London, an electrifying new live album capturing his 2019 performance at London’s intimate 250-seat Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
Only a handful of lucky fans were present as the lights went down that magical night in 2019. But now, Kevin Shirley’s dynamic production is your invitation to slide onto Ronnie Scott’s red velvet banquette and catch the sparks as Benson’s honeyed vocal and fluid licks drive the finest live outfit in modern jazz.
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'
14. 'Cruise Control'
The 2019 show that became Weekend in London was another fabled night to go down in the club’s folklore. This hard-bitten jazzman might prefer spontaneity to setlists, but this latest live album nods to many of his countless career peaks.
After a short intro, George opens his first new live recording in 30 years on the always magnificent to hear, and always a loving flashback ambiance of his 1980’s US #4 smash hit 'Give Me The Night,' and backs that up seamlessly with the the song that won a Best R&B Song Grammy Award at the 25th Grammy Awards in 1983, 'Turn Your Love Around.'
The super smooth 'Love X Love' (a song written by Heatwave's keyboard player Rod Temperton) is up next is is followed by the dulcet ballad 'In Your Eyes,' and then we get the slow-blues flow of the classic Dave Bartholomew track 'I Hear You Knocking.'
George then tells us that this was a very special man (Gerry Goffin) who wrote this song that he was going to next perform, and with that we get the majestically-performed 'Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You' which he backs up with the sultry 'Feel Like Makin' Love' (originally written for, and sung by Roberta Flack), the easy Sunday roll of 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight' (a song written and sung by James Taylor), and then we get one of the stand outs here, a cover of Donny Hathaway’s 'The Ghetto.'
Next up is a genuine, first class, deep cut classic in the form of a 1952 song by Eddie Jefferson, 'Moody's Mood,' whose melody is derived from an improvised solo by jazz saxophonist James Moody on a 1949 recording of the 1935 song 'I'm in the Mood for Love,' and that's followed by George's up-tempo rendition of 'Love Ballad' (a song by R&B/Funk band L.T.D. that featured Jeffrey Osborne on vocals).
We then get treated to the early '80s R&B pop of 'Never Give Up On A Good Thing,' with this nostalgically delightful album rounding out on a composition by José Feliciano, written in 1975, 'Affirmation,' and then closing on the drum-led, free-flowing wonderment of George at his guitar expressionist finest, an electrifying take of 'Cruise Control.'
'Cruise Control' (Live) Video
"'Cruise Control' is one of my favorite instrumentals because it was completely off the cuff," says Benson. "I kept getting ideas as we got into the song and one of the ideas was to inject vocal inserts at different places during the improvisational part of the performance."
"We don’t plan the show out in advance,” explains Benson. "But we know there’s things we gotta play, and if you leave too many out, you’re in for a troubled night. We know what people have come to hear. So I’ve got half the battle won.”
“We captured a lot of the atmosphere on Weekend In London,” says Shirley. “It was very crowded, like it always is at Ronnie Scott’s, no matter who’s there. We were almost touching as we were playing, people all up on the bandstand."
"But I’m always happy to be in those surroundings. A lot of big Benson fans were there – and some of the screaming ladies. It was a fantastic night.”
'Turn Your Love Around' (Live) Video
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