Friday, January 23, 2009

George Benson - 1971 - Beyond The Blue Horizon and White Rabbit



Tracklisting:

1 So What 9:15
2 The Gentle Rain [From the Gentle Rain] 9:09
3 All Clear 5:32
4 Ode to a Kudu 3:49
5 Somewhere in the East 6:17
6 All Clear [alternate take/*] 5:48
7 Ode to a Kudu [alternate take/*] 4:41
8 Somewhere in the East [alternate take/*] 9:46

All Music Guide Review by Richard S. Ginell

Having taken Benson along with him when he founded CTI, Creed Taylor merely leaves the guitarist alone with a small group on his first release. The payoff is a superb jazz session where Benson rises to the challenge of the turbulent rhythm section of Jack DeJohnette and Ron Carter, with Clarence Palmer ably manning the organ. Benson is clearly as much at home with DeJohnette's advanced playing as he was in soul/jazz (after all, he did play on some Miles Davis sessions a few years before), and his tone is edgier, with more bite, than it had been for awhile. The lyrical Benson is also on eloquent display in "Ode to a Kudu" (heard twice on the CD, as is "All Clear"), and there is even a somewhat experimental tilt toward Afro-Cuban-Indian rhythms in "Somewhere to the East." A must-hear for all aficionados of Benson's guitar.



Tracklisting:

1 White Rabbit 6:55
2 Theme from Summer of '42 5:04
3 Little Train (From Bachianas Brasileiras #2) 5:46
4 California Dreamin' 7:19
5 El Mar 11:00

All Music Guide Review by Richard S. Ginell

"For George Benson's second CTI project, producer Creed Taylor and arranger Don Sebesky successfully place the guitarist in a Spanish-flavored setting full of flamenco flourishes, brass fanfares, moody woodwinds and such. The idea works best on "California Dreamin'" (whose chords are based on Andalusian harmonies), where, driven by Jay Berliner's exciting Spanish rhythm guitar, Benson comes through with some terrifically inspired playing. On "El Mar," Berliner is replaced by Benson's protégé Earl Klugh (then only 17) in an inauspicious — though at the time, widely-heralded — recorded debut. The title track is another winner, marred only by the out-of-tune brasses at the close, and in a good example of the CTI classical/jazz formula at work, Heitor Villa-Lobos' "Little Train of the Caipira" is given an attractive early-'70s facelift. Herbie Hancock gets plenty of nimble solo space on Rhodes electric piano, Airto Moreira contributes percussion and atmospheric wordless vocals, and Ron Carter and Billy Cobham complete the high-energy rhythm section. In this prime sample of the CTI idiom, everyone wins."