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Crate Digger’s Gold: George Benson Beyond the Blue Horizon

August 28, 2012

This is my favorite CTI Benson album.  I picked up this 1979 vinyl reissue (the album was originally issued in 1971) at the recent RockNRoll music sale.  I am sure the reissue came about due to Benson’s huge late 70’s success.

Benson’s guitar is as fat and easy to listen as his late 70s heyday, but is not buried in the near disco arrangements of that period. Here Benson is accompanied by an amazing band that included Ron Carter on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums.   Unknown to me is organist Clarence Palmer and the two percussionist (Michael Cameron and Albert Nicholson).

The guitar, organ, drum trio was a 60s classic and almost a cliché, so it is very unique to have a hall of fame bassist on the session.  Ron Carter’s contributions are particularly cool as he extensively adds a bowing technique to the arrangements – almost violin like.

The album opens with a wonderful cover of Miles’ “So What?” which has an almost rock feel.  The second side has a beautiful quite song called “Ode To a Kudu.”  Closing your eyes you can almost imagine a grand solitary beast on the savanna.  The fact that beast’s horn will become an instrument is a bonus.  Note CTI also had related label called Kudu that focused on soul jazz.

Very cool album – accessible, yet challenging enough to be interesting.


  1. Have a few of these but not this one. This is the George era I like.

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