George Benson is a class act at Montreal Jazz Fest.
July 1st 2019 Place Des Arts, Montreal
George Benson strolled out on stage wearing white pants, black shirt and black jacket. He picked up his Ibanez guitar and did what he does best, playing with a finesse that showed us why he's a 10 time Grammy ward winner. The man dressed classy, played classy and his singing? The man's voice has not lost a note and it soulfully
breathed out like a fine wine.
Benson is touring in support of his latest album, Walking to New Orleans which is a tribute to Fats Domino and Chuck Berry, which is surprising that he only did two songs from it. From Fats Domino it was the hit Ain't That A Shame. He told a funny story of how years ago he met Chuck Berry and asked him if it was okay if he did his famous duck walk. Berry's response was "Can you?" That was the only words Berry ever said to Benson. Instead of one of Berry's well known rockabilly numbers he did a song that as he described it would have sounded more like a Lou Rawls song, Havana Moon.
This sold-out crowd got to hear the majority of songs they came to hear. Of course it was only fitting he play the jazzy Breezin', He played his rest-stroke picking technique on Masquerade. He even did some classy stylish hip dancing on Turn Your Love Around, and of course he got everyone on their feet for Give Me the Night. In a show where it's all about the guitar and vocals it was a pleasant surprise that a major highlight was the powerful dazzling drum solo from Kahri Parker who has captured the admiration of someone like Neil Peart. The final song On Broadway had a nice call and response singalong. The song might be called Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You and that fittingly describes what the audience and Benson feel for each other.