4th edition of the Montreal Guitar Show
George Benson, recipient of the second
Montreal Guitar Show Tribute Award
Montreal, Thursday, July 1, 2010 - The day before the launch of the 4th edition of the Montreal Guitar Show, presented as part of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, the MGS organizers will be giving out the Montreal Guitar Show Tribute Award. The award was created to highlight the outstanding contributions made to guitar history and to the music of the leading international guitarists. Seeking a successor to Jeff Beck, who inaugurated this guitar-culture hall of fame last year, it was only natural that one of the world’s most highly respected jazz guitarists be chosen: George Benson. He will be awarded the trophy at 2 p.m. today, July 1, by Jacques‑André Dupont, founder and general manager of the SGM, at a press briefing to be held in Salle Stevie Wonder at the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan (305 Sainte‑Catherine Street West, 2nd floor).
It was in the streets of a sooty post-war Pittsburgh that the career of Little George Benson began. At the ripe age of 4, armed with a ukulele, the boy who would one day become one of the most highly respected jazz guitarists AND a soul pop crooner of worldwide renown probably already knew that he was a born performer. Before recording his first solo album in 1964, The New Boss Guitar, which set in motion the events that would build his career (including a collaboration on the master’s album, Miles in the Sky, in 1968), George Benson honed his talents as a guitarist in the bars of his hometown. Funky, swinging blues solos were the trademark of the tireless Benson, who from the time he signed his first record contract, recorded one album after another: Giblet Gravy, The Other Side of Abbey Road, Beyond The Blue Horizon and then Breezin’ in 1976, that flagship album that would become a classic and the first jazz album to be certified platinum. This era also marked the start of his popular success as a singer (Give Me the Night, On Broadway…), revealing a Benson who refuses to be hemmed in by a yoke, whatever it may be: jazz or pop, guitar or vocals. He is first and foremost a performer who, thanks to his enormous talent, succeeds in captivating a myriad of publics. Today, George Benson continues to pursue his career with the same irrepressible verve and creativity. He won his 9th and 10th Grammies in 2006 for Givin’ It Up, an album he did with Al Jarreau, followed by the release of Songs and Stories in 2009. Over the years, Benson has built an impressive discography and racked up countless honours, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and honorary doctorates from Berkeley and Morris Brown University. And in 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts proclaimed him a NEA Jazz Master. George Benson, An unforgettable tribute to Nat King Cole, tonight, July 1, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA, presented as part of the Événements spéciaux TD series.
The MGS Tribute Award
The name says it all! The Montreal Guitar Show (MGS) is devoted exclusively to the guitar and everything related to it: the instrument itself, its faithful fans, the luthiers who give it life, and of course, the players who literally make it vibrate in their hands. So it makes perfect sense that the MGS organizers created an award last year to spotlight the outstanding contributions made by a handful of the best-known guitarists, whether for their exceptional playing, their innovative input or any other major influence they have had on the history of the guitar in particular, and on music in general.
The trophy was designed by renowned Quebec guitar-maker Mario Beauregard. His exceptional instruments, which can only be qualified as veritable works of art, have found takers on several continents. His magnificent trophy, made of unstained varnished wood, epitomizes the very essence of jazz and blues: with ebony symbolizing the African music at the roots of both genres, and maple, iconically North American, representing their birth in our land. Two worlds that fuse together in a single type of sublime music.
To find out all there is to know about the 4th edition of the MGS that will be held from July 2 to 4 at the Hyatt Regency Montréal, visit the Web site at montrealguitarshow.com.
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