George Benson set to release first live album in 30 years

Grammy-winning jazz icon George Benson has offered fans a glimpse at his upcoming live album Weekend in London.

The guitarist and singer’s first new live recording in 30 years, the album captures Benson’s electrifying performance in front of a very lucky crowd at Ronnie Scott’s in 2019.

“We captured a lot of the atmosphere on Weekend in London,” says producer Kevin Shirley. “It was very crowded, like it always is at Ronnie Scott’s, no matter who’s there. We were almost touching as we were playing, people all up on the bandstand. But I’m always happy to be in those surroundings. A lot of big Benson fans were there — and some of the screaming ladies. It was a fantastic night.”

Benson’s last live performance to be recorded and officially released was 1989’s ‘Round Midnight. In 2007, he released Live in Montreux, but that was recorded many years earlier, in 1986.

Fans will likely notice that the record’s title is a callback to Benson’s certified-platinum 1978 live album Weekend in L.A.

In advance of the album’s release on Nov. 13, you can listen to four songs from the recording right now: the Grammy-winning Turn Your Love Aroundthe Billboard-charting Give Me the Nightand the instrumental tune Cruise Control.

Weekend in London also features a number of fan favourites like Love X Love and In Your Eyes, as well as fresh takes on classic covers by Dave Batholomew and Danny Hathaway.

“We don’t plan the show out in advance,” Benson says. “But we know there’s things we gotta play, and if you leave too many out, you’re in for a troubled night. We know what people have come to hear. So I’ve got half the battle won.”

Notably for jazz fans, the performance is a spectacular showcase of Benson’s best-in-class improvisation.

Benson won 10 Grammy Awards between 1977 and 2007. His last studio album was Walking to New Orleans, a tribute to pianist Fats Domino and guitarist Chuck Berry.

You can pre-order Weekend in London here.

Here’s the full track listing:

  1. Give Me the Night
  2. Turn Your Love Around
  3. Love X Love
  4. In Your Eyes
  5. I Hear You Knocking
  6. Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You
  7. Feel Like Makin’ Love
  8. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
  9. The Ghetto
  10. Moody’s Mood
  11. Love Ballad
  12. Never Give Up on a Good Thing
  13. Affirmation
  14. Cruise Control