Benson began his musical career at the early age of eight, when he appeared as a singer in nightclubs. In 1960, he formed a rock band in which he played guitar and sang. In 1964 he played together with "Brother" Jack McDuff his first recordings on ( The New Boss Guitar ).
Influenced by Charlie Christian and especially Wes Montgomery he came mid-1960s jazz. He played with such greats as Miles Davis ( Album: Miles In The Sky ), or as a sideman for Lou Donaldson and developed into a recognized jazz guitarist. Beginning of the 1970s, he took a number of high- plates with strong radio influence for Creed Taylor's CTI label on before moving in 1976 to Warner Brothers and with the vocal track, " This Masquerade " from the album " Breezin ' " a Millionenhit landed. After the album he named the late 1970s and his own jazz club Breezin Lounge in Harlem. In the course of his career he often published a series of formulaic and shallow jazz - pop records, with which he tried to build on this commercial success. He had a hit in 1979 with the song " On Broadway ", who was in the movie "All That Jazz" ( All That Jazz ) to hear.
But Benson also occurs over and over again as a virtuoso jazz guitarist in appearance. It is characteristic of him next to his special solo style also be unison scatting along with his solos.
In 2009 he received the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship.
Used guitar types
As a jazz guitarist played and plays Benson primarily on hollowbody guitars and the so-called 12er - steel strings with Flachdrahtumwicklung ( Flatwounds ). At first he played with Gibson models, which can also be seen at the " Gibson Super 400 " on the album cover of " George Benson and Jack McDuff ," to his cooperation with the Japanese manufacturer Ibanez began in the mid 1970s. Ibanez built for him in 1978, marketed as GB-10 hollowbody guitar that had a slimmer body than the previous jazz guitars. Later, the voluminous GB -20 and GB -30 then came. The difference between the models was, among other things, that the GB- 10, two so-called floating mini -humbucker pickups possessed, the GB- 20 is a full-size humbucker and a larger corpus and finally the GB- 30, two full-size humbucker and a semi-hollow body by Gibson ES- 335 model. For 12-year anniversary of their cooperation built Ibanez 1990, the GB- 12th This was a GB-10 with lower body and elaborate inlays in the fingerboard and the headstock. Also, were ceiling, sides and bottom of maple. Today, in addition to the now classic 10 GB variants GB -15 and GB -200 are offered. All Benson models have a scale length of 24.75 inches ( 628 mm). Benson was one of the first jazz guitarist who helped a Japanese manufacturer to reputation among peers in times of Gibson dominance.