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Benson and Jarreau 'Givin' It Up' On New Album


Singer and guitarist George Benson and vocalist Al Jarreau are no strangers to the Grammy Awards. Each has earned his share of Grammys over the years. As VOA's Doug Levine tells us, the duo's first album together could be one of the big winners at next month's ceremony.

It's no surprise that one of the top jazz albums of 2006, George Benson and Al Jarreau's Givin' It Up, is having a great run in '07. The album marks the first-ever collaboration by these two music veterans, and it's filled with fresh remakes of some classic pop and R&B songs. Add to that three famous guest singers, and there's no telling how many awards it may reap this year.

Hearing George Benson's guitar compliment Al Jarreau's scat-style vocals, you would never know that during their 30-year friendship, they've never recorded an album together. With more than 70 solo albums between them, perhaps they've just been too busy conquering the jazz, pop and R&B worlds.

Now, if you think George Benson's guitar sounds like a perfect fit for Al Jarreau's voice on "Breezin'," just listen to their interplay on "Mornin'."

The new album features an eclectic mix of songs by everyone from Miles Davis and Billie Holiday to Darryl Hall, John Legend and Seals and Crofts. In addition, Al Jarreau contributed several originals. Special guests include vocalists Jill Scott and Patti Austin, as well as an impromptu vocal cameo by Paul McCartney on Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me." Jazz notables Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke, Chris Botti and Patrice Rushen also appear on the album.

Meanwhile, George Benson and Al Jarreau are in the running for three Grammy Awards, which will be presented in Los Angeles, California, on February 11.

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