George Benson (2)
George Benson (2)
George Benson's playing career began with a "C" melody saxophone at the age of eleven. When his father saw that he was interested, he bought George an alto saxophone. George played sax in both the junior and senior high school bands. He also learned to play the clarinet and the bassoon in school bands.
George played his first professional job at age sixteen with a big band at the Granada Theater. Due to his young age, his father had to sign for him to enter the musicians union in order to work that job.
George played various clubs around Detroit and Ohio until he was drafted into the army. George was married two months before he went into the service. After being drafted, George joined the 264th Army Band stationed in Hawaii. George also played bassoon in the All Service Band. He returned to Detroit after an honorable discharge from the service and continued to work in clubs in Windsor and Detroit.
George was the leader of the house band at the famous Flame Show Bar during its last year. George continued his musical career as both a leader and a sought after sideman. Throughout the decade of the 1960's, George was a vital part of many of the Motown recordings.
Academically inclined, George Benson is well known as a teacher of Jazz improvisation and theory. He has written a book titled "Jazz Etudes Over Classic Jazz Changes" published by Houston Publishing, Inc. and exclusively distributed by Hal Leonard.
In 1988, George received the "National Association of Jazz Educator's Outstanding Service to Jazz Education" Award.
George's performance credits, too innumerable to detail, range from Louis Armstrong to Lena Horne, Stevie Wonder to Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald to Milton Berle, and he has often been seen with his Detroit contemporaries Marcus Belgrave and J.C. Heard. George has added to his many great recordings by recently releasing "George Benson Sax Master."
George has continued to spend the major years of his life developing the intricacies of a master musician. George has remained in the Detroit area and raised a family.