He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was a professional musician from age 19 (?).
George Benson started out playing straight-ahead instrumental jazz with organist Brother Jack McDuff. Benson got his first experience playing with his several-year stint with McDuff's group.
Benson's first major label recording was It's Uptown with the George Benson Quartet with Lonnie Smith on organ and Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax. This album showcases Benson's talent in constructing swinging bebop lines at blistering tempos. Benson followed it up with "The George Benson Cookbook," also with Lonnie Smith and Ronnie Cuber. This album included two tracks with Benson singing.
One of his major hits is the song This Masquerade, which is included in the top-selling album Breezin' . This album represents a shift to more commercially oriented music which brought Benson a wider audience but alienated some jazz fans.
Benson continues to play outstanding jazz guitar, as evidenced on recordings such as Jimmy Smith's Off the Top and Benson's own live album Par Excellence.