The latest release by multi-Grammy® award winner George Benson - Inspiration (A Tribute To Nat King Cole) on the Concord Records label, opens with a rare recording of Little Georgie Benson, age eight, singing Mona Lisa, and comes full circle with George Benson closing with the same song. Backed by the 42-piece Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, it is a stunning tribute to an American icon, the legendary Nat King Cole.
George Benson - Inspiration (A Tribute To Nat King Cole)
George Benson - Inspiration (A Tribute To Nat King Cole): Mona Lisa - Little Georgie Benson, Just One Of Those Things, Unforgettable, Walkin' My Baby, When I Fall In Love, Route 66, Nature Boy, Ballerina, Smile, Straighten Up and Fly Right, Too Young, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter, Mona Lisa
Personnel: George Benson, Idina Menzel - duet with George Benson on When I Fall In Love, Judith Hill - duet with George Benson on Too Young, Wynton Marsalis - trumpet on a new arrangement of Unforgettable, and the 42-piece Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra
George Benson: Inspiration (A Tribute To Nat King Cole) is released on the Concord Records label.
The release opens with a very young George Benson (Little Georgie) singing Mona Lisa, taken from a recording he made at the age of eight, as the result of a singing contest. It would be the beginning of George Benson singing the music of vocalist and pianist Nat King Cole (1919 - 1965). George Benson's Inspiration (A Tribute To Nat King Cole) is the result of four years of touring and developing "An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole.
The adult George Benson kicks up the pace segueing into an adaptation of Nelson Riddle's arrangement Just One Of Those Things with Benson's fast-paced scat and guitar solo to complement the lyrics and the big band orchestra. Next in the luscious line-up is the romantic Unforgettable, which has a new arrangement, and features guest Wynton Marsalis providing memorable trumpet work, followed by Walkin' My Baby.
Tony Award Winner Idina Menzel joins George Benson for a lovely duet on the iconic When I Fall In Love, followed by the 1946 Bobby Troup song, Route 66, which opens with great piano before George breaks out into the familiar lyrics, "If you ever plan to motor west, Travel my way, It's the highway that's the best. Get your kicks on route sixty-six ..."
Other tracks include the Nature Boy, followed by Ballerina, and the heartbreaking song, Smile where the lyrics implore, "Smile though your heart is breaking, Smile even though it's aching ... What's the use in crying ..."
The 1943 song, Straighten Up and Fly Right, has a great swing feel that will have you dancing to the groove and features some very fine instrumental work, followed by Too Young featuring a duet by Judith Hill and George Benson, and I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter, which is gorgeous with its full-blown orchestra accompaniment.
Speaking about the release, George Benson said, "I felt every moment of it. You can't put together a record like this without putting your heart into it. I got that from Nat King Cole. He put his heart into everything he did."
The same came thing can be said of George Benson as the release fittingly closes with the adult George singing the memorable Mona Lisa, which is a perfect culmination of his tribute to Nat King Cole.
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