Everybody knows George Benson. For years, he was the jazz singer that even those who didn’t like jazz knew about. Within the jazz community, however, he continued to enjoyed a reputation for being a hard swinging guitar player who came up through Jack McDuff’s band and who, coincidentally, sang a little bit. His records have sold in the millions and his style of playing and singing has become part of the greater jazz lexicon. It is now common practice, for example, for guitar players to sing along with their solos, a practice popularized by George. Perhaps more than any other contemporary jazz player, he has experienced the tensions of tremendous commercial success and the strain of fighting to keep his music intact and a viable part of the jazz tradition. We first met years ago, before his first hit record Breezin’ was released, and the circumstances of our first meeting is where the following conversation began.