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BREAZIN’

Breezin’

Released May 1976
Recorded January 6-8, 1976
Studio Capitol Records Studios, Hollywood, California

Genre Smooth jazz

Length 38:42

Breezin’ is a studio album by jazz/soul guitarist George Benson. It is his debut on Warner Bros. Records.

The album marked the beginning of Benson’s most successful period commercially. Breezin’ topped the Pop, Jazz and R&B album charts in Billboard and spun off two hit singles, the title song (which has become a smooth jazz standard) and “This Masquerade,” which was a top ten pop and R&B hit. The album itself was certified triple Platinum by the RIAA.

The album won multiple prizes at the 1977 Grammy Awards. The album won the awards Best Pop Instrumental Performance for Benson and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Al Schmitt and was nominated as Album of the Year for Tommy LiPuma and Benson. “This Masquerade” received the award Record of the Year for LiPuma and Benson, while it was nominated as Song of the Year for Leon Russell and as Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for Benson.

In a contemporaneous review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a “C” and dismissed most of its music as “mush”. In a retrospective review, Allmusic’s Richard S. Ginell gave it three-and-a-half out of five stars and said that, although Benson’s guitar is “as assured and fluid as ever”, Breezin’ is “really not so much a breakthrough as it is a transition album; the guitar is still the core of his identity.”

Original version

Gábor Szabó, a Hungarian jazz guitarist, recorded the original version of title track “Breezin'”, and has expressed disdain for Benson’s success with his arrangement. Coincidentally, LiPuma produced both versions.

In 2004, Donny Osmond redid the song as “Breeze On By”, using the original arrangement and guitar licks and adding a vocal track/

Track listing

Side one

No. Title Writer(s) Length

1. “Breezin'” Bobby Womack 5:40
2. “This Masquerade” Leon Russell 8:03
3. “Six to Four” Phil Upchurch 5:06

Side two

No. Title Writer(s) Length

1. “Affirmation” José Feliciano 7:01
2. “So This is Love?” Benson 7:03
3. “Lady” Ronnie Foster 5:49

Personnel

George Benson – guitar, vocals
Jorge Dalto – piano, clavinet
Ronnie Foster – electric piano, Moog synthesizer
Phil Upchurch – rhythm guitar
Ralph MacDonald – percussion
Stanley Banks – bass
Claus Ogerman – arranger, conductor
Harvey Mason – drums
Tommy LiPuma – producer
Noel Newbolt – associate producer
Al Schmitt – recording, mixing
Doug Sax – mastering engineer