Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Givin’ It Up

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2006 at 12:00 AM

Guitarist George Benson and vocalist Al Jarreau start out strong on Givin' It Up, but the album soon morphs into a halfhearted guest fest with smooth jazz as its too-mild center. Neo-soul vocalist Jill Scott, Chris Botti, Patti Austin and Paul McCartney all appear. There are worthwhile moments, such as Patti Austin's gorgeous voice melting in with Benson's and Jarreau's on "Let It Rain," and Benson's singing on "All I Am" will make your heart well up. Jarreau even scats the melody to "Don't Start No Schtuff" with Olympic sprinter speed. But to get to such musical camaraderie here, you've got to weed through drab collaborations and obligatory instrumental numbers, such as Benson's workmanlike rendition of the John Legend hit "Ordinary People." Jill Scott's turn on Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" is particularly unimaginative; she attempts to emulate Holiday's relaxed phrasing instead of being herself. McCartney's duet with Jarreau on Sam Cooke's masterpiece "Bring It on Home to Me" is an exciting pairing — in theory. But their voices are mismatched; it might've worked had Jarreau simply sat it out. Givin' It Up could've been great — two vet performers having a ball like only close buddies can — but Benson and Jarreau rely too heavily on, or settle for, too many guest appearances. The result is a formulaic stab at crossover-friendly easy listening.

Charles L. Latimer writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Charles L. Latimer

Read the Digital Print Issue

March 3, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation