Title - 'Breezin' (Hybrid Multichannel SACD)
Artist - George Benson
A former child prodigy, George Benson first came to prominence in the 1960s, playing soul jazz with Jack McDuff and others. He then launched a successful solo career, alternating between jazz, pop, R&B singing, and scat singing.
Indeed, his album Breezin' was certified triple-platinum on the Billboard 200 chart in 1976. His concerts were well attended through the 1980s, and he still has a large following today. He has even received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In fact, it should also be known that Breezin' is the best-selling jazz album of all time! The album features the hit singles, 'This Masquerade' and the title track, 'Breezin'. The album won multiple Grammy Awards and made George Benson an instant hit amongst all lovers of music.
Here on this Limited, Numbered Edition Hybrid Multichannel SACD, Breezin' has never sounded so good! Crisp, clear, resoundingly fresh and colorful, the 5.1 Surround Sound mix has been lovingly produced by Al Schmitt. Also, the 5.1 Surround Sound mastering is by Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab. The original 2-track stereo and DSD mastering is by Steve Hoffman at Marsh Mastering studio.
Not the longest album in history, just containing six tracks, the timeless album (yes, still today) begins with the title track, an instantly recognizable, catchy guitar hooked masterpiece. Benson's laid back guitar playing shines as always here. Indeed, his fluid style on the hollow body is often imitated, but rarely matched.
Playing with the precision, attack, and chord vocabulary of a jazz master, his studio backing band (Jorge Dalto - piano, clavinet; Ronnie Foster - electric piano, Moog synthesizer; Phil Upchurch - rhythm guitar; Ralph MacDonald - percussion; Stanley Banks - bass; Claus Ogerman - arranger, conductor; and Harvey Mason - drums) is just as strong. I mean, some of the jams on Breezin' are made for sitting on the deck of a cruise liner! Sure, Benson only sings on one song, but shows an incredible range and displays his awesome ability to skat sing to his guitar lines on the jazz standard, 'This Masquerade.'
As someone who uses a rest-stroke picking technique similar to that of gypsy jazz players such as Django Reinhardt, his work on that particular song is nothing compared to what he throws down on the excellent, and real jazz-styled songs, 'Six To Four,' 'Affirmation,' and 'So This Is Love?' The track that brings the album to a close is another all-around, well-crafted jazz song, this time with pop styling, 'Lady.'