"George Benson"


Vision Music presents, for your learning pleasure...

Basically Blue

by George Benson

Look Who's Here...

George Benson is arguably the most popular legend among active jazz guitarists today, and "Basically Blue" is a collaborative effort with Vision Music, a series of valuable lessons based on some of George's fine blues-based work from early in his career.


About the Lessons...

Basically Blue was created from a large collection of transcribed solo riffs ("Blue Benson"), spanning fifteen years of recordings by George. "The Early Years" is from '64 through the later sixties, while "The CTI Years" captures vintage GB from the early seventies. "Breezin' & Beyond" starts with that famous release in '76, continuing through his recordings from the late seventies. Click below to check current availability:

Note: The purpose of studying these riffs is to widen your vocabulary of improvising ideas, not to "impersonate" another artist. For the sake of analysis and application to many related tunes and progressions, the lessons are presented in the key of C (Am).


A Very Special Thanks...

We are indebted to George's old friend & mentor, legendary guitarist Hank Garland, for extending an invitation in behalf of Vision Music to join Robert Conti and the other fine players in adding his considerable presence to our growing faculty.

In particular, it was the passionate effort by Hank's sister-in-law Amy Garland, who was responsible for personally contacting George, getting permission from him to collaborate with us in creating lessons to share with players and fans from all over the world!


The 'Coach' on George Benson...

"Of my many musical influences, no single artist has affected my playing and teaching concepts more than guitarist George Benson, a player whose blues passion and fertile rhythmic imagination has never been matched. To join forces with my longtime mentor through our 'guest' faculty at Vision Music is a 'dream come true' for me, and I hope these lessons succeed in having a positive impact on all of you!" -- Mark Stefani



Artist Profile...

George Benson was born in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1943. At the age of 8 he began to sing in a local nightclub. His stepfather, Thomas Collier, taught him to play the ukulele, and later gave him a guitar. Among George's early musical influences were Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery, as well as Grant Green and Hank Garland. As a teenager he played in a rock 'n' roll band before he returned to jazz. From 1962 to 1965, George was part of organist Jack McDuff's blues-based jazz band. In 1964 Benson recorded his first album as a leader. "The New Boss Guitar" was inspired by hard bop and soul. More records, produced by John Hammond, followed in 1965 and 1966.

Besides his early releases, Benson also recorded with Jimmy Smith, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock before hitting it big with a series of top-shelf fusion jazz albums on CTI. His vocal on "This Masquerade" and his guitar instrumental "Breezin'" both became mega-hits in the 1970s. After a brief period as an R&B star, Benson moved into position as a smooth jazz elder statesman. It's a position he holds to this day, though he still displays his "pure" jazz chops in concert and on occasional albums.



CD Recordings...

George is one of the most recorded jazz guitarists in modern history. For a complete online listing of all available Benson CDs, we recommend:

To access, just click on the image above to visit our Amazon.com affiliate site.


Books on Mr. Benson...

"Sheet Music Plus" carries a large selection of books and transcriptions of George's music.

To check them out or buy online, click here or above!



Grammy Awards & More...

Achievements? Here are some of George Benson's more notable awards:

This Masquerade

Record of the Year (1976)


Best Pop Instrumental Performance (1976)

Theme from Good King Bad

Best R&B Instrumental Performance (1976)

On Broadway

Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male (1978)

Give Me The Night

Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male (1980)

Off Broadway

Best R&B Instrumental Performance (1980)

Moody's Mood

Best Jazz Vocal Performance (1980)

Being With You

Best Pop Instrumental Performance (1983)


George also received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Music (Berklee College - 1990).



George Benson Jam Tracks...

Vision Music's highly popular "Jam Central Station" page features over a dozen great GB song selections from the time period listed above. If you love to jam, don't miss it!

For George's current tour schedule, visit his official website at www.georgebenson.com.


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