This is an Enhanced audio CD which contains regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Personnel: George Benson (vocals, guitar); Joe Sample (piano, Wurlitzer piano, Hammond B-3 organ, synthesizer); Ricky Peterson (Hammond B-3 organ, synthesizer); Carlos Henriquez, Christian McBride (bass); Steve Gadd, Vidal Davis, Cindy Blackman (drums); Luis Conte (congas, timbales, percussion); Luisito Quintero (percussion); Roy Ayers, Richard Shade, Claudia Acuna, Lisa Fischer, India (background vocals).
Producers: Tommy LiPuma, Louie Vega, Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez.
Engineers: Al Schmitt, Jon Fausty, Steve Barkan.
Recorded at Clinton Recording Studio A & Platinum Audio, New York, New York in May 1999.
ABSOLUTE BENSON was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album.
German edition has bonus track "El Barrio" (Masters at Work Remix).
With the help of his longtime friend and producer, Tommy LiPuma, George Benson crafts a guitar heavy, yet commercially viable album with ABSOLUTE BENSON. Benson here delivers guitar work similar to his '70s CTI releases; his guitar licks are lyrical, logical, and liquid, and his sparse vocals are also impressive.
ABSOLUTE BENSON kicks off with a Latin-flavored cover of Donny Hathaway's "The Ghetto," and follows with its companion piece, the equally Latin-influenced "El Barrio." Benson also covers material by Ray Charles ("Come Back Baby"), Stevie Wonder ("Lately"), and by guitarist Marc Antoine ("Jazzenco"). Joe Sample's contributions are "Deeper Than You Think," "One on One," and "Hipping the Hop," and Benson and Sample even team up on the composition of the funky album closer, "Medicine Man." Benson really seems to enjoy himself on this recording, and he seems to enjoy playing with the wonderful musicians that join him. ABSOLUTE BENSON solidifies Benson's position as a master among smooth jazz guitarists.
Q (7/00, p.111) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Proves Benson's name is still synonymous with quality....9 mostly instrumental tracks of elegant, deftly funky, Latin-flavored groove...And Benson himself never once breaks a sweat."
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