Back in April 2023 while writing about Kwame Brathwaite [1]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 [2]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 [3]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 [4]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” [5]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 [6]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!

New York Daily News – July 4th, 1975

One Reply to “On This Day: Benson – The Other Carnegie Hall Concert”

  1. Mark, thanks for your commentary about the “other” Carnegie Hall concert by George Benson. I must admit this was a great find for me, not just because of this great recording and Benson’s playing, but because it is a tribute to WRVR FM, “The River”, New York City’s jazz station until 1980. Like so many other stations, WRVR struggled financially and was ultimately sold: https://www.nytimes.com/1975/11/17/archives/jazz-concert-will-aid-fight-to-block-sale-of-wrvr.html

    I welcome your readers to listen to this concert and many other broadcast recordings on FM Radio Archive: https://archive.org/details/george-benson-1975-carnegie-hall-wrvr. As stated on my web site, FM Radio Archive is “is dedicated to finding, preserving and publishing live & recorded music broadcasts from the last 55+ years”, to help “us expand our musical horizons”. My goal is to preserve these recordings before they are lost.

    Thanks again for helping me highlight the importance of preserving these magical and precious recordings.

    Thanks, Kim Paris, FM Radio Archive

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