Recording live at Los Angeles' Roxy club -- then a showcase for many of the hottest acts in pop -- was just the tonic that George Benson
and his Breezin'
band needed on this often jumping album. With unusually lively crowds (for a record-industry watering hole) shouting encouragement, the band gets deep into the four-on-the-floor funk and Benson
digs in hard, his rhythmic instincts on guitar sharp as ever. The balance between vocals and instrumentals is about even -- George
's voice sounds more throaty and soul-oriented than before -- and amid the new material, there is a revisit to a favored CTI-era instrumental, the lovely "Ode to a Kudu." This album also introduced "On Broadway," an extended stomping version of the Drifters
' hit that would become Benson
's climactic showstopper for years. The only superfluous element is the after-the-fact addition of Nick DeCaro
's string synthesizer backdrop; the real Claus Ogerman
-arranged thing would have been preferable if strings are a must.