George Benson and Patti Austin keep the music playing

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Music fans will be captivated by the smooth, light sound of an exhilarating array of jazz, swing, bop, R&B and pop tunes from one of the world’s greatest jazz guitarists and singers when George Benson performs at a big show on September at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

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Benson will take the spotlight in the Big Dome opener of the two-night concert series titled “George Benson Inspiration Tour!” that will end with another show on September 6 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

To be featured as very special guest at the Smart Araneta Coliseum concert only is Grammy Award-winning R&B and jazz singer Patti Austin.

The musical event, to be produced by Ovation Productions, is part of Benson’s ongoing world tour to promote his latest album, Inspiration: A Tribute To Nat King Cole, which was released on June 4.

George Benson has been acclaimed as one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history and at the same time an amazingly versatile musician with a beautiful rounded tone who can perform in just any style and genre – from swing to bop to R&B to pop.

A one-time child prodigy from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who began performing at the age of four, he first came to prominence in the 1960s, playing soul jazz with the band of organist Jack McDuff and other groups.

Alternating between jazz, pop, R&B singing and scat singing in the course of his successful solo career, in 1965 he recorded for Columbia Records two highly-regarded albums of soul-jazz and hard bop, and turned up on several records by other artists, notably Miles Davis’ “Miles In The Sky” (1968).

The albums he cut for various record labels during the next decade helped make Benson a guitar star in the jazz world, but it was not until he began to emphasize vocals in his recordings that the mass market took serious notice of him.

Benson continued to be a live attraction in the 1980s and 1990s as he recorded a mix of standard and pop-flavored albums, such as “Tenderly” (1989), “Standing Together” (1998), “Absolute Benson” (2000), “All Blues” (2001) and “Irreplaceable” (2004).

Three songs from the 2006 album, “Givin’ It Up,” recorded with Al Jarreau, earned nominations for Grammy Awards in different categories.

In 2009, Benson released “Songs And Stories” under Concord Records, followed two years later by his primarily instrumental albums in 33 years entitled, “Guitar Man.”

Meanwhile, Patti Austin will perform as the main act in another set of concerts scheduled on September 7 at the Crowne Plaza Ballroom (dinner show) in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City for the benefit of Boys Town, and on September 9 at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.

Billed as Patti Austin Philippine Tour 2013, Austin will perform with special guest Joe Pizzulo, the former lead vocalist of Sergio Mendes and his band.

The musical presentation will showcase Patti’s astounding vocals and amazing gift for singing in virtually any music genre with class and distinction that has produced hits like “Do You Love Me?,” “Every Home Should Have One,” “Baby, Come To Me,” “How Do You Keep The Music Playing,” among many others.

A professional singer and musician since the age of five, Patti became known as a prolific background session musician and commercial jingle by the late 1960s, with credits for Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Frankie Valli, Joe Cocker, George Benson, Angela Bofill and Roberta Flack.

Patti would later team up again with Ingram for the follow-up single, “How Do You Keep The Music Playing,” the theme song for the film, “Best Friends.”

In 2008, 53 years after landing her first record deal, Patti was awarded her first Grammy for winning the “Best Jazz Album” for “Avant Gerswhin” at the 50th annual Grammy Awards ceremonies.

In 2012, she celebrated 57 years as a recording artist and 58 years as a professional singer, deeply committed to numerous advocacies, including mentoring and guiding many young and aspiring singers and musicians in the same selfless way that Dinah Washington, Quincy Jones and Sammy Davis, Jr. had done for her on her way to the top.

Both concerts are presented by Ovation Productions. For ticket information, visit www. ticketnet.com.ph. For the Patti Austin show at the Crowne Plaza Ballroom call 633-7222, and for Davao, 0932-6376185.

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