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The multi-talented George Benson is known for his accomplishments on the guitar as an innovative jazz artist, but he has made a name also in the pop,swing, and rhythm and blues world. As a young boy, George sang in the streets or in nightclubs where he was discovered and offered the opportunity to record an R&B record. He alludes to Eddie Jefferson as his inspiration for his singing and saxophonist Charlie Parker and guitarist Grant Green for fostering his interest in jazz.
When George was seventeen, he formed his own R&B group in which he played rhythm guitar. After this, he joined Jack McDuff's organ trio in which he played electric guitar; while he was with this trio, George developed some "searing guitar solos" that were highly praised.
One of his personal techniques involves singing a line that is identical to the line he plays on the guitar. This "scatting" of Benson involves his singing in unison with the guitar, but at an octave higher or lower. Benson has made this comment,
My guitar can do things my voice can't do. It can soar and makes my voice try to follow, and I end up singing in octaves my voice can't do when I'm just doing the vocal.
One of his famous songs "This Masquerade," which won him a Grammy Award, has this scatting in it. Another unique technique is Benson's use of what is known as "rest-stroke" picking technique on his guitar.
George Benson has won ten Grammy Awards in all, he has recorded with numerous recording studios, and he has played with several groups, among them Count Basie's Orchestra. In 2009, Benson received the nation's highest honor in jazz, Jazz Master, from the National Endowment of the Arts. In June of this year, George Benson, who has performed world wide, has released a new album with Concord Records entitled A Tribute to Nat King Cole.
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