TO Jazz Review: George Benson, June 26, Nathan Phillips

George Benson is one smooth cat. This was apparent the moment he started playing his brand of soul jazz at Nathan Phillips. The venue was packed inside and out with die hard fans who have been listening to him for decades. It was funky all ages fun for the whole family.

His guitar work is legendary. He evokes guitarist Wes Montgomery with his brand of approachable smooth jazz. I hate using that term because smooth jazz conjures up ideas of flat and uninteresting elevator Muzak. Benson can make soulfully smooth sounds, but he can also play with a grit that feels at times like B.B. King.

The band was tight and confident. They played the love songs the fans wanted to hear and material from their latest album, Guitar Man. George’s instrumental of Norah Jones’ Don’t Know Why was particularly beautiful. Equal parts smooth love and jazz made for a great show and a satisfied crowd.

Posted on by Mark in Concerts, Toronto Jazz Festival