I clearly remember George Benson’s song "Breezin'" playing on AM radio stations back in the ‘70s and how much it sounded different from anything else I was listening to at the time. I genuinely liked it. I never realized that I was listening to crossover jazz and I never gave it another thought, until now. Back then, I was interested in only one type of music, rock. If you had told me that I would come to know jazz and love it, I would have laughed. It is funny how certain music sparks memories and coaxes realizations about yourself and who you once were.
The Greatest Hits of All is the very best of Benson’s Top-40 jazz crossover oriented career encapsulated on one CD. Essentially what this compilation does is highlight his output from 1976-1988. There are 19 tracks of dynamite guitar playing, expressive and articulate vocals, and most of all.... music that everyone will enjoy hearing. Yes, this is music for the entire family. If other people surround you in your household, all of them will enjoy this music. If it is just you listening, the effect is the same.
This man had a ton of hits. The other songs that always rocked my soul were "On Broadway (live)" and "Turn Your Love Around." Both tunes constantly caught my ear with their irresistible hooks and melodies. There have been many versions of "On Broadway" but the one I remember is on this collection. That is saying a lot considering how many great artists have covered the song. I have always felt that Benson was an equally talented vocalist and guitar player, and that is more than evident when you listen to each track on this CD. His history goes back to 1964 when he played with the great Jack McDuff. Unquestionably, Mr. Benson has been a major influence on many musicians since his inception as a recording artist. When you look at the list of credits on this album, it is truly amazing.
To have the respect of your peers and adoration of your fans as a guitar player is one thing, but to have that same kind of respect as a vocalist is something special. Benson did it all and although this is only one segment of a long and productive career, it covers the most commercially successful time that he had.
This CD will get common rotation in your stereo for a long time before you decide to move on to something else. With the combination of jazz, rock, and pop all here with one of the most distinctive voices in music history telling the stories, this is a can’t miss collection well worth the price of admission.