In 1961, jazz guitar performer George Benson got his break via a surprising opportunity. Hammond organist Brother Jack McDuff was passing through with his trio minus the guitar Player. Benson was immediately recommended to fill in and he ended up subbing for the following three years whilst undergoing the most challenging period of his jazz guitar music career. Though he had an excellent sense of time and an extremely deep groove, his harmonic and melodic knowledge was lacking and he did not know how to read music! With McDuff’s continuous encouragement Benson studied hard and acquired the required skills. In the meantime he met jazz guitar music giants Kenny Burrell, Jim Hall, and Wes Montgomery who would also go on to release collection books of jazz guitar tabs and jazz guitar tablatures. Wes grew to become practically a mentor to the young, up and coming guitarist. Prestige Records took notice of his outstanding jazz guitar technique and in 1964 Benson recorded “The New Boss Guitar of George Benson With the Brother Jack McDuff Quartet”.

The large amount of publicity and rave acclaim persuaded Benson to go it alone and he formed his own quartet in 1965. Along with a lot other jazz musicians of the time, the band scuffled in the club scene until Columbia Records talent scout extraordinaire John Hammond heard him and signed him to the major record label. Preferring to feature him as a vocalist during those trying times for jazz, Columbia had him sing various tunes on his two albums. In 1967, Benson left Columbia for Verve Records where he cut two albums.

Still looking for an emphathetic record label, in 1968 George Benson joined A&M Records where he became a stable mate with Wes Montgomery. Wes had intervened on his behalf with producer Herb Alpert and Benson ended up making 3 record albums for the new and promising record label. His producer was Creed Taylor, who had engineered Wes’s unsurpassed commercial success by getting him to play pop tunes with ear-pleasing octaves. A comparable path was taken with Benson to a similar critic’s consternation that followed Wes Montgomery’s “sellout” and once Taylor left in 1970 to form his own CTI Record Company label, Benson was convinced to come along for the ride.

The idea of CTI Records was revolutionary! Instead of treating jazz as some esoteric art reserved for the jazz music elite, Taylor came at it with a pop sensibility. He got the very best young jazzmen around and had them perform standards, modern tunes and originals and sweetened the songs with orchestral backing tracks.Afterwards he wrapped the tunes in visually striking, glossy artwork on the record album covers. The results were amazing. CTI Record Company sold ten times the overall amount of most past jazz releases! Thankfully for aspiring guitarists, George Benson has released a number of jazz guitar music tab books which feature quite a few of his recorded guitar solos and instructional DVDs where he teaches his jazz guitar techniques and his harmonic concepts.

Peabody Conservatory trained guitarist Steven Herron helps guitar players become better guitarists. His company features an enormous selection of jazz guitar tablatures
as well as instructional DVDs by George Benson himself. Find out more and claim Steven’s popular free monthly guitar lesson e-course available at: =>

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