Java Jazz Festival 2011: George Benson Tribute to Nat King Cole


The name George Benson is simply a legend that will bring many memories and experience to the heart of jazz lovers everywhere around the world. This multi Grammy Award winning jazz guitarist is also known as a pop, RnB and a scat singer. “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You”, “The Greatest Love Of All”, “Give Me The Night”, “20/20”, and “In Your Eyes” is some of his classic works remembered well until today.

george-benson-(14)Benson had started his carreer since the age of 10 with his first single from RCA Victor. His first album was at the age of 21, and after a collaboration with Miles Davis in “Miles In The Sky” album, Benson surprisingly climbed the top jazz chart with the version of BeatlesAbbey Road, “The Other Side Of Abbey Road”. But the real success he reached was not until the 1976’s “Breezin’”, where Benson put his vocal track on the single “This Masquerade”. After the success of Breezin, Benson then took a big step on the pop and RnB area. The album “Give Me The Night” produced by Quincy Jones has taken him to a higher success. Besides the vocal albums, Benson still went back to his jazz roots on some collaboration albums, including with Chet Atkins, Earl Klugh, Al Jarreau and Marcus Miller, recently. In 2009, Benson was crowned the Jazz Master, US’ highest honor in jazz. His double performance in this year’s Festival, one for the greatest hits, and the other, was Benson’s remarkable performance in 2009. An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole, has been showed as a part of Istanbul International Jazz Festival, and now comes as the highlight to 2011 Java Jazz Festival.


Tonight George Benson savored the thirst of his fans with a very lovely performance together with Indonesian Magenta Orchestra. He started with his classic “Breezin'”. It was a really nice choice considering how famous this song is.  Then Benson came into the theme, taking on some of the evergreens from the legendary Nat King Cole including “Too Young”, “That Sunday That Summer”, “When I Fall In Love”, ” I’m Going To Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter”,  “Smile” , george-benson-(16)“Rambling Rose” and “Just One of Those Nights”. This theme of the show was a lifelong dream of Benson, as later in the press conference, he said that Nat was his true inspiration and how the tribute show was a privilege to him.

Nat King Cole is a legend, so does Benson. He was kind enough to give a taste of what he will bring tomorrow, his Greatest Hits. So like the extras in the very end, even with no encore just to keep the tight schedule, George performed 4 of that classic; “The Greatest Love Of All”, “Lady Love Me (One More Time)”, “Nothing’ s Gonna Change My Love For You” and the jazzy flowin’ “Give Me The Night”. Too bad again for this year’s special show, the medias had to missed 4-5 first songs for being held outside the hall without clear reason.

As legendary as he is, he might played many parts in jazz history, but to us this is what  matters most about George. No one scats with the sound of the guitar like him. Nat King Cole would smile happily from heaven with this really charming show. Thank you George, it was wonderful indeed!

See more pictures:

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Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan, Daniel Irawan, Ardhi Saputro, Ata Michaella
Photographer: I Putu Surya KB


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