‘Blues, jazz, soul and R&B cat’ George Benson moves Leeds gig to June 22 2022

George Benson: Give Me The Night…but now another night in Leeds after his 2021 tour is out back to 2022

AMERICAN jazz, blues and soul guitar virtuoso George Benson is moving this summer’s eight UK shows to June 2022, among them his only Yorkshire gig at Leeds First Direct Arena.

Tickets will remain valid for the new date of June 22 next summer after the ongoing pandemic and present restrictions on indoor events enforced the decision.

Benson, 78, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will perform his greatest hits with his band, such as Give Me The Night, Lady Love Me (One More Time), Turn Your Love Around, Inside Love, Never Give Up On A Good Thing and In Your Eyes.  

Benson’s latest album, Weekend In London, was recorded at his 2019 performance at the 250-seat Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, almost half a century since he played the London club as the hottest property on the American jazz scene of the early 1970s.

Honoured by the National Endowment of the Arts as a Jazz Master, Benson has won ten Grammy awards: Record of the Year for This Masquerade (1977); Best Pop Instrumental Performance for Breezin’ (1977) and Mornin’ (2007); Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for On Broadway (1979) and Give Me the Night (1981), and Best R&B Instrumental Performance for Theme From Good King Bad (1977) and Off Broadway (1981).

Benson summed up his musical evolution neatly in his 2014 autobiography: “…from blues cat to blues-jazz cat…from blues-jazz cat to jazz cat…from jazz cat to soul-jazz cat…and from soul-jazz cat to R&B-jazz cat.”

Tickets for June 22 2022 are available from ticketline.co.uk or on 0844 888 9991.

Gregory Porter calls for “All of us rise” on new studio album set for August release

“All Rise,” urges Gregory Porter…from his seated position

AMERICAN jazz singer and songwriter Gregory Porter will release his new album, All Rise, on August 28 on Decca Records/Blue Note Records.

Porter’s last studio album, 2017’s Nat King Cole & Me, was a dedication to his life-long idol, built around cover versions.

All Rise marks a return to the two-time Grammy Award winner’s original song-writing template: his heart-on-sleeve lyrics imbued with everyday philosophy and real-life detail, set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues, gospel, and pop.

“You could say that I went big,” says Porter, 48, of a record produced by Troy Miller that combines the talents of his long-time bandmates, a hand-picked horn section, a ten-strong choir and the London Symphony Orchestra Strings.

“But, quite frankly, the way I write in my head, it all happens with just voice and piano first, and it’s built up from there. It feels good to get back to the rhythms and the styles and the feelings and the way that I like to lay down my own music from start to finish.”

The artwork for Gregory Porter’s August 28 album, All Rise

Sacramento-born Porter has just released his latest single, the suitably soaring Phoenix. “The song is about the undying, irrepressible spirit of love,” he says. “Love can fall, can suffer some great blow, but it can rise from the ashes and keep going.”

Phoenix follows the gospel-infused lead single Revival, the ballad If Love Is Overrated and Gregory’s dedication to his fans, friends and family, Thank You.

As he worked out the album’s direction, he looked inward, upward, and around him, arriving at a raison d’être found in the title, All Rise. “We hear that phrase when presidents or judges come into the room, but I’m thinking ‘all of us rise’, not just one person being exalted,” says Porter, who played York Barbican in October 2014 and Leeds First Direct Arena in April 2018.

“We are all exalted and lifted up by love. This is my political thought and my real truth. It comes from my personality, my mother’s personality, the personality of the blues and of black people. It’s this idea of making do with the scraps, of resurrection and ascension, and of whatever the current situation is, it can get better through love.”

Did you know?

GREGORY Porter won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album for Liquid Spirit in 2014 and Take Me To The Alley in 2017.