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George Bensonal Jarreau

George Bensonal Jarreau image
Parent Issue
Day
24
Month
September
Year
1976
OCR Text

Pine Knob "Bad" George Benson's band, featuring Phil Upchurch on second lead and rhythm guitars and Ronnie Foster on a variety of electronic keyboards, is an extremely tight and seasoned group. Upchurch, a session man always n demand as a bass player, n recent years has stepped to the forefront as a guitarist. The exchanges he got into with Benson were the highlight of the evening. A crowd of 5,000-plus watched as Benson hit the stage, strapped on his Gibson hollow body, and broke into a version of the pop hit "Dance With Me," followed by Foster's cotijoosition "Lady" (iïom the Breezin' Lp) and a "rock and roll jam," but with these musicians it was hardly your standard, four-chords-with-a-boogie-beat. Benson, Foster, and Upchurch all stepped up front for their solo licks while their rhythm section provided a solid and unwavering bottom. George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun" (from The Other Side of Abbey Road Lp) began as a slow bailad, and then, abruptly and without warning, changed to a superbly funky jam. Benson's guitar and vocal exhortations and Foster's spacey Moog solo brought the crowd to their feet. "Summertime" changed the mood from fever-pitch to laidback. "Masquërade" (Benson's biggie) was last, of course, and t got the hoped-for reaction- a relentless demand for "More!" The band returned for an energetic treatment of "White Rabbit." Unfortunately, I didn't anticípate the traffic tie-up upon entering Pine Knob Countryconsequently I missed the first half of opener Al Jarreau's set. Jarreau's popular fusión of soul and azz vocal styles was supported by a very fine threepiece band (bass, drums, Fender Rhodes piano) and was received very warmly by the crowd, which demanded a couple of encores. larreau returns to the area next month.