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Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by ipm, Jan 18, 2020.
Well that certainly wasn't at the height of his I'll Drink To That era....
When I started this thread I was not thinking to write only about harmonic complexity of this method. The beauty of it is in way everything is connected.
Regarding that complexity - complex thing are built from lots of small and simple things. Key centering enables us to play over complex harmonies, but how many small and simple devices we use determines how colourful we can play. George got gazillion of these devices. And in that sense, he IS one of the most complex player in history of jazz. Add to that time, feel, technique, melodic sense.
As OP I hope we can stop measuring longetivity and continue talk about these small devices he use. Last week Peter showed many of them and more people are aware of it. We got something healthy to chew here. Lets do it.
From what I've read, George is a R&B guitarist who decided to play some Jazz.
That's very different from Wes, Kessel, Pass, Raney etc etc.
The R&B came first.
George didn't even know about Charlie Parker until the early 60s after he'd been playing R&B for years https://jazztimes.com/features/interviews/george-benson-tells-marcus-miller-like-it-is/
It just shows how quickly he can pick up things, and in a few years from just playing R&B he was playing Jazz at a high level, after hearing Charlie Parker.
Jazz and Rock dudes don't have that R&B Groove (maybe there are some rare exceptions), some can have a fake sort of R&B thing that's not that bad.
George has a fantastic R&B Groove, it's his biggest asset IMO, it's the thing that he has got that others havn't.
He's got that staccato playing thing that is R&B verging on Funk sort of thing, light left hand pressure and a lot of R&B Groove.
As for George's subs as great as they are, well I've never heard of another instrument player (like a Sax player) saying they got these amazing subs they have never heard of before from George Benson, seems to me they don't know or care what George does and his subs have no bearing, they know about Coltrane's and Parker's devices though which permeated to all instruments in Jazz (maybe not drums).
As much as I like George's playing I don't think he ever came up with something new that permeated to other instruments, but his subs are interesting.
"I found that the things I was learning, all that harmony and stuff that I was learning, I could interchange and I could play that. “Oh, I can play it in R&B and I can play all of this stuff, and this too!” And that’s what CTI Records allowed me to do because they were looking for that modern vibe, using all modern tricks and harmonies and devices. I started playing loose on the records and Freddie Hubbard loved it, Stanley Turrentine too. And they allowed me to play all that funny stuff I was dreaming up at home, and I was trying to learn some stuff from John Coltrane, about stacking chords on top of each other and walking my way back home with the chords."
You got hired by Brother Jack McDuff in 1963 because he’d heard you on some gig playing a jazz solo. But then he got you on the gig and he realized that you could play like a jazz guitarist because you’d been hearing jazz guitar solos in the middle of pop songs and you could figure out how to play them, but you weren’t completely familiar with the jazz vocabulary yet, right?
I had just started going to jam sessions maybe a year before that. I had an R&B band that played whatever was on the jukebox. One guy in my R&B band, I used to ask him, “Man, what is it that you’re playing?” I could tell he was an excellent musician because he was so confident when he played, but I didn’t know what kind of music it was. He said, “I’m playing Charlie Parker.” I said, “Who’s that?” He said, “You don’t know who Charlie Parker is?” One day I had to drive him home—we lived way out on the other side of town—and he said, “Man, don’t drive back. Get a cup of coffee,” and then he put on Charlie Parker with Strings, “Just Friends.” And that changed everything.
That's a great interview, really a pleasure to read.
It seems to me the key to benson is that he was gigging for real from a very young age but he didn't just settle on a single bag of tricks that paid the rent. He doesn't display a lot of knowledge of theory in the interview but neither did Wes. Your ears tell a different story
Great that he made so much money, although count me among the snobbish critics who think his pop stuff is pretty bad.
no way man I'm a smooth jazz fanboy...although I might suffer slight PTSD from "give me the night". Its running on a loop in my head right now as a matter of fact.
This is all very silly.
With every player, on every instrument, it's not about harmonic complexity, or rhythm, or chops or anything other than having something interesting to say and being able to get that out. Its imagination. The one thing that really sets George apart is just that.
His imagination, and seemingly endless interesting ideas. His ability to play what he can hear in his head (due in part to his vocal ability) is a huge asset that most others lack.
It's all about creativity and ideas.
Lots of guys can play his stuff. Oberg (a true monster) Rodney Jones, Billy Roger's, Peter Farrell, Lagrene and others have the chops and are unreal themselves, but George has that ability to hit you in the soul, and keep it interesting for chorus after chorus after chorus, and with all different feels. Look at his multiple versions of "Summertime" for example. Each one a completely different feel, and each one has absolute knockout playing, that captures the essence of the song.
We can all learn his licks, copy his solos, and then play in that style, but it's never going to sound like George. Hes a total original with incredible imagination. That's what makes him unbelievable.
What's great about what Peter Farrell is doing is giving everyone an opportunity to find out how George looks at things, and it's very different.
That alone can help a lot of guys play better.
It sure helped me, and continues to do so.
I'm getting more out of his free videos than with hundreds spent on some lessons!!
Some of those pop albums are horrible from a jazz perspective, but even on those disco type songs his playing was incredible. That he could play pure pop/dance like that is just another feather in his cap.
I mean listen to this playing. Its unbelievable.
Every phrase is a masterpiece. Solo starts around 1:30.
you should join that "experience" Facebook group if you haven't. He has 5 lessons about 3 hours each. I think they'll only last until his book sale is over (maybe this Sat?)
Can you give me a link?
I will join right away.
Mega already did a few pages back it's where the vids are from...
[ A-7 ] [A-7] [A-7] [A-7 A7] [D-7] [D-7] [D-7] [D-7 E7] [A-7]......
It's going to take your ears a while to re-adjust. Just as my teacher told me, it's much harder to unlearn something you are use to than learn something new. Play A7 ideas over that A7 and resolve it to D-7 and E7 ideas over that E7 and resolve it to A minor. After you get really use to playing that smoothly and easily and HEARING it, then make your original loop and you should be able to hear those 5 chords even though they are not there. You will be superimposing them over the existing chords.
The Ab maj7 arp before A-7 does work, because it's a legitimate substitute for E7.
Finally I understand. Ive been listening to jazz for a few years. My ears are longing for it but my fingers and guitar mindset need to be rewired totally. You've helped me a lot. And also you sharing this info on these threads could totally change my world... a Big Thanks Tag. Hopefully I will come back and share some stuff with you one day. After absorbing the GB books and transcribing lines from the greats. Like you encourage everybody here to do ... cheers
Ok...just so you know I made a mistake!
Play the A7 line and resolve it to the DMINOR7
obviously!! Not C-7!! Jumped from the other thread in G- and confused myself!
Rich is a great player! I wish he would!
I still have clips from him years and years ago when we did those things. Lots of incredible players back then. Chuck D was fantastic. Rich took a lesson with Rodney Jones too!
It would be better if you would loop this
||A7 % % % | Dm7 % % % ||
We can play in three positions:
1. In front of chords changes - ex.
||A7 A7 Dm7 Dm7| Dm7 % Dm7 %||
Here Dm7 in first bar is "in front"
2. On chord changes - everything is right on its place
||A7 % % %|Dm7 % % %||
3. Late resolution (or behind)
||A7 % % %|A7 A7 Dm7 Dm7||.
Here we have 2 beats of A7 within Dm7 bar.
There actually other possibilities, but lets leave that for later.
In first step try to superimpose Dominant or Subdominant line right on chord changes (example 2 above). But, remember two crucial things - if you superimpose for Dominant line, LAST NOTE of the line must be from the chord you are on and don't superimpose too long lines because that will destroy flux and reflux.
Will come back later...
You got all the books? Nice, I'm envious.
I just applied for the free group.
The books and videos go hand in hand, or are they totally different??
Same thing...just way more detail...
In the books??