Two Iconic Artists * Two Definitive Albums * 1 Historic Night
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 20, 2017) – World renowned Jazz superstars, George Benson and Kenny G, are teaming up for a historic co-headline touring event where each will perform songs from their career defining album plus greatest hits. It’s been 40 years since Jazz visionary George Benson released the groundbreaking Grammy Award winning album Breezin’, selling over 3 million albums and topping the Jazz, R&B and Pop Billboard charts. It’s been 25 years since Kenny G, the most celebrated instrumental musician of the modern era with his signature Jazz sound, debuted the Grammy Award winning album Breathless, selling over 12 million copies in the United States alone.
“Kenny, Kenny G that is, is a refined instrumentalist with a lot of wonderful ideas that have connected with millions around the world,” mentions Benson. “He is a master of the soprano sax. I always enjoy when we get an opportunity to work together and I look forward to a very successful tour.”
George Benson and Kenny G combined have sold over 125 million albums worldwide, earned 11 Grammy Awards, and have recorded a staggering 15 #1 albums and 10 #1 singles. The pair will embark on one of the most highly anticipated tours of the year, The Breezin’ & Breathless Tour.
“To say I’m honored to share the stage with one of the greatest musicians in the world would be a huge understatement,” Kenny G mentions. “George Benson has always been a jazz hero to me with a virtuosity that is second to none. In the past I was very fortunate to have had the chance to perform with him, but doing an extended co-headline tour together is truly an honor and a privilege. I can’t wait to experience the magic that I know will be there each night.”
George Benson had some inroads as a funk-jazz guitarist on the popular ’70’s label CTI, but it was Breezin’, his 1976 Warner Brothers debut, that lifted him to pop stardom. A Stevie Wonder-ish vocal rendition of Leon Russell’s “This Masquerade” was irresistible ear candy for Top 40 listeners; fans who primarily listened to rock or soul fell by the millions for the rest of the album, too. Over the light grooves of the title track (penned by R&B great Bobby Womack) and “Six to Four,” Benson shows he’d hardly abandoned the fleet fingering of his previous work as a bandleader and Miles Davis sideman. Breezin’ was ultimately certified triple-platinum, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard album chart in 1976.
Breathless was the sixth studio album by saxophonist Kenny G, released in 1992 on Arista Records. It reached No. 1 on the Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. The track “Forever in Love” won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition at the 1994 ceremony and reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album has been certified Diamond for shipments of over 12 million copies in the US, making it one of the top 100th best-selling albums in the history.
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About Kenny G
In January 2015, Kenny G reached another career milestone with the release of his fourteenth studio album Brazilian Nights via Concord Records. The ten-song set, Kenny’s tribute to the ‘masters’ of Bossa Nova, is a mixture of classics and Kenny G originals. Melodies and music have long been a signature part of Kenny G’s life. Since releasing his self-titled debut disc in the fall of 1982, Kenny G has become the biggest selling instrumental musicians of the modern era and one of the best-selling artists of all-time with global sales totaling more than 75 million records. His biggest album was 1992’s Breathless – which sold a staggering twelve million copies in the United States alone. In addition, his 1994 Christmas disc Miracles: The Holiday Album ranks as one of the most successful Yuletide albums ever – with sales over eight million copies. Seven of his singles have hit the Top-40 on the Billboard Hot 100. He has also been ranked as one of the most-played artists in the Adult Contemporary format – with nine top ten singles. Kenny G has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the business during his legendary career, ranging from Michael Bolton to Katy Perry to Weezer to Whitney Houston.
About George Benson
NEA Jazz Master and 10 time Grammy winner, George Benson, is appreciated as both a musician and performer. Benson plays the dual role of expert improviser and vibrant entertainer. Rounding out his singular approach with a strong sense of swing, he is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Benson began his career as a guitarist working the corner pubs of his native Pittsburgh. Legendary jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery came across Benson early on, complimenting him and urging him to continue his already impressive work. In the early 1960s, Benson apprenticed with organist Brother Jack McDuff; he found the organist’s gritty swing a fertile ground for the sly, confident, and adventurous guitar lines that earned him an early reputation as a master.
By the time legendary talent scout John Hammond signed Benson to Columbia, the guitarist’s name was becoming known throughout the industry. In the late 1960s he sat in on Miles Davis’ Miles in the Sky sessions, and also put a personal spin on the tunes from the Beatles’ Abbey Road. Joining the CTI label in 1970, Benson was united with many of jazz’s finest instrumentalists and released classic albums, such as Beyond the Blue Horizon.
In 1976 legendary producer Tommy LiPuma paired with Benson and the result was Breezin’, the first jazz record to attain platinum sales and the first Jazz record to win a Grammy for Album of the Year. This was his first in a long association with Warner Brothers Records with such hits as his soulful rendition of Leon Russell’s “This Masquerade,” which featured the guitarist scatting along with his solo break. He followed up with many pop hits, including a sultry version of “On Broadway” and the irresistible “Give Me the Night” (written by the late, great Rod Temperton and produced by Quincy Jones).
In 2006, Benson and Al Jarreau released Givin’ It Up with Benson’s current label, Concord Music Group where they garnered 2 more Grammy awards. Mr. Benson continues to tour the world to sold out audiences and release recordings, such as, Guitar Man, and An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole.