Grammy supremo George Benson excited ahead of Hampton Court Palace Festival

Surrey Comet: Too cool: George Benson looking forward to London Too cool: George Benson looking forward to London

For worldwide renowned jazz extraordinaire George Benson, London is a real treat.

And for London to welcome the 10-time Grammy award-winning superstar to the royal stage at Hampton Court Palace, it is an honour.

The 71-year-old, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, cannot wait to perform at the prestigious venue fit for a king.

He says: “I’m really excited because it gives me a chance to hang around London a little more and I love London.”

The musician, who has sold out 41 London shows, will play at the Hampton Court Palace Festival this year, which boasts an 11-date star-studded line up including the Beach Boys and Dionne Warwick.

Benson says: “I know that I have the most loyal fans in London because I have never played to a less than sold-out audience when in London.”

The Give Me the Night singer, who says he experiments on stage when has the backing of an orchestra, likes to give the crowd what they want.

He says: “I think people still love all our hits and they always say ‘I want to hear Kisses in the Moonlight’.

“We will surprise them a little bit too, but we’ll play a lot of the hits.”

A former child prodigy, Benson first came to prominence in the 1960s, playing soul jazz with the likes of Jack McDuff and others.

He then launched a successful solo career, alternating between jazz, pop and R&B.

His album Breezin’ was certified triple-platinum on the Billboard chart in 1976.

The crooner was told by singer Gloria Estefan at a concert in Wembley how to improve his show.

He says: “She gave me some good information about my show to stiffen it up a little bit.

“I am a guy that experiments a lot when I’ve got an orchestra.

“We don’t want to weird people out too much with all this new stuff that is experimental because I don’t want to experiment on people.”

But the jazz star says his show won’t be completely surprise-free.

He says: “I don’t mind giving them a little treat.”

George Benson at the Hamton Court Palace Festival; June 23; 8pm; £60 to £75; hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com.

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