Back in April 2023 while writing about Kwame Brathwaite https://www.ctproduced.com/kwame-brathwaite/, I discussed the George Benson album and the Carnegie Hall concert “In Concert – Carnegie Hall” with guest Hubert Laws. That concert was on January 11th, 1975 and the album from it was later overdubbed to replace parts of the recording and released in 1976. While researching and going through folders of information, I realized there were at least two Benson Carnegie Hall concerts, this post is about the second, on this day, 48-years ago – July 3rd, 1975.
Here is the live performance of George Benson and his Quartet, along with Milt Jackson from that July 3rd concert. Press play and read on.
This version of the recording is streamed from the Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/george-benson-1975-carnegie-hall-wrvr – Thanks to subscriber and Freeform Portland Radio host Kim Paris who is a curator of the Archives’ FM Radio Collection https://archive.org/details/fmradioarchive?query=freeform+portland.
The Reel Story
In 2022, after sending $35 by paypal, I received a box of mostly random 7 1/2 IPS reel to reel tapes. Many of them were live performance recordings from artists that were or had been artists signed to Creed Taylor’s labels from circa 1970-1978. Some were obvious recordings from viny records.
Usually, they only had titles, some have dates, and some had track lists written in pencil on the inside of the tape box lid. No other details. I was offered them by someone who’d read about Bob James on ctproduced and got in touch via the contact page and asked if I wanted them? In among the tapes was one labelled Benson Live At Carnegie Hall, date July 3rd, 1975 and a track list as follows.
Introduction Instrumental Take Five Down Here On The Ground My Latin Brother Impressions The Shadow Of Your Smile Song Intro Take the A Train
After reading Arnaldo DeSouteiro’s notes to Doug Payne https://www.dougpayne.com/ctid7576.htm#bensoninconcert, that there was a Stanley Turrentine performance that was also recorded but never released. Excitedly I loaded up the tape from the box in expectation hoping the date was wrong and it would include the Stanley Turrentine tracks. I started to digitally convert/record, It wasn’t that simple, a large section of the tape after the lead-in was crinkled, the tape was brittle and snapped once. Eventually I got a digital recording, cleaned it up, and ended up with a half-listenable concert.
July 3rd, 1975
It was soon obvious it was not the January 11th concert at all. Quick comparison, the set list wasn’t the same although there was some overlap from Benson’s last studio recording for CTI, “Good King Bad” https://www.discogs.com/master/52730-George-Benson-Good-King-Bad. It turns out that Benson and his Quartet played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1975, again as special guests and opening act for Jon Lucien. Lucien had been the main act for the January 11th Carnegie Hall concert as well.
The main difference this time was that Benson had Milt Jackson rather than Stanley Turrentine perform. The Quartet consisted of Ronnie Foster – keyboards; Jorge Dalto – piano; Stanley Banks – electric bass; Marvin Chappell – drums; David Diggs – percussion; Special guest: Milt Jackson – vibes. Just as with the January 11th concert, this one was also sponsored by WRVR in New York https://foursquaremiles.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/wrvr-jazz-radio-new-york/. The story of the demise of WRVR is in itself worth returning to at some point.
When I shared my reel to digital copy with Doug Payne, in a return email, Doug noted: “I had no idea George was doing “Down Here on the Ground” this early” –
On July 4th, Don Nelson reviewed the concert for the New York Daily News. The review was reprinted in Saturday 5th’s issue as well.
Do you agree with Don or disagree? Unlike the released January 11th, 1975 “Live At Carnegie Hall” concert, this one has no overdubbing, it’s as played. Leave a review or comment below!