George Benson for summer 2010 UK Arena tour

George Benson - Photo: Greg Allen
George Benson
Photo: Greg Allen

George Benson has announced that he will be heading to the UK this May/ June for a number of arena dates.

The soulful and jazzy singer/ guitarist rose to commercial success in the UK with the release of the pretty-darn-excellent 'In Your Eyes', released in 1983 produced by soul singer/ producer Kashif. This led to the UK's "rediscovery" of his earlier material, including the album which marked his "crossover" stage where his soulful voice started to take centre stage: 'Give Me the Night', produced by uber-producer Quincy Jones.

In the US, he had been a star in the jazz world since his early collaborations with brother Jack McDuff, providing the jazzy riffs to Jack's organ and vocal skills, with his later releases 'Bad Benson', 'Breezin' and personal fave 'In Flight' topping the US jazz charts in the 70s. Breezin' even topped the US pop charts back in 1974 which even the more commercial 'In Your Eyes' failed to do, ironically.

Never one to stand still, he has continued to work with the great-and-good of the music world, with the majority of his recent output still topping the US jazz chart, including the most recent albums 'Giving' it Up (feat. Al Jarreau)' and last year's 'Songs and Stories', produced by omni-present bassist Marcus Miller. And very nice it is too, opening with a nice rendition of the Isley Brothers' 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely' - but it's not a cover album.

So, back to the UK tour, and who can we pick to share the stage with this American legend? Hmm... let me see, we'll pick a UK legend, jazzy, bit of a crooner ... oh, how about Marti Pellow from Wet Wet Wet. (cue, the jazz-heads hitting 'close' on their browser window). Well, don't shoot the messenger, but that's who the support act is - which I suppose will do well with the Heart/ Magic FM audience.

Tickets go on sale this Friday (29th January) at 9AM, costing £45 for all but the London O2 Arena dates, which will cost £50 + booking fee.

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