George Benson started on ukelele

Now, A Jazz Moment?

MUSIC: "Willow Weep For Me," CD: The Essential George Benson, Columbia/Legacy 69699 85215 2 (disc 1, cut 4)

George Benson: My stepfather, he was a guitar player. So, my hands were too small for a guitar, so he found a ukulele in the trashcan. It was all broken up. And he glued it back together and bought some strings, and that was my first instrument.

NEA Jazz Master, George Benson.

George Benson: And a year and a half later or two, I was nine years old and my hands were large enough to play a guitar so I got my first guitar for Christmas. It was a $14 instrument, which I was very proud of, you know. Took that on the street corners. I learned to play real quick. Now, I had a guy, he said, "I want to meet your folks, and I think I can get you a recording contract." And, at 10 years old, I was recording for the biggest record company in the world, RCA Victor.

MUSIC: up and fades

This Jazz Moment with guitarist George Benson was created by the National Endowment for the Arts.

George Benson started on ukelele