Casino Entertainment

July 24, 2014

Casinos: George Benson teams with Chris Botti at Thunder Valley

George Benson is set to release “Benson: The Autobiography” next month. In it, he will recount stories from a career that’s seen the singer-songwriter partnering with artists including Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Quincy Jones, Count Basie and Benny Goodman.

George Benson is set to release “Benson: The Autobiography” next month. In it, he will recount stories from a career that’s seen the singer-songwriter partnering with artists including Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Quincy Jones, Count Basie and Benny Goodman.

How many artists can boast a roster like that? Guitarist Benson is a survivor and we’re lucky that this master of rest-stroke picking is still enjoying the spotlight. He’s set to play Saturday at Thunder Valley.

Benson, of course, gave audiences the inimitable “Breezin’” album (with tracks such as “This Masquerade”) and nine other Grammy winners. He was the original recording artist of “The Greatest Love of All”– featured in the 1977 Muhammad Ali biopic “The Greatest” – before Whitney Houston made it a bigger hit. Three years ago, he paid tribute to Nat King Cole, a crossover artist that paved his way, with his most recent album “Inspiration.”

Benson’s co-headliner, trumpeter Chris Botti, has had his own share of great collaborators, like those on “Impressions,” his 2012 Grammy-winning album, including Andrea Bocelli, Vince Gill, Herbie Hancock and Mark Knopfler. Some of the songs have Botti looking back to before he was a force – or even born – including “It’s a Wonderful World” and “Over the Rainbow.”

The teaming of Benson and Botti is one of those dream shows that pop up only occasionally – smooth jazz, soul and pop that’s perfect for a summer night. (7 p.m. Saturday; $42.75, $49.75, $65.75, $81.75, $97.75; thundervalleyresort.com)

There could hardly be a bigger contrast between the Benson-Botti teaming and the show Friday at Thunder Valley. “That Metal Show Presents” is a full evening of head-banging, eardrum-piercing crash-and-bang from Anthrax, Living Colour, Corey Taylor and Burn Halo. (7 p.m. Friday; $29.75, $37.75, $49.75, $62.75, $79.75)

Elsewhere:

• Of all those Wayans (Damon, Kim, Shawn, Marlon, etc.), only one starred in “In Living Color” and directed the horror spoof “Scary Movie.” That would be Keenan Ivory Wayans, doing a solo act Saturday at Cache Creek (8 p.m.; $35, $45; cachecreek.com).
• Few announcements have made an area quite as happy as last week’s disclosure that the recently shuttered and long-troubled Horizon Hotel-Casino at South Lake Tahoe will become the Hard Rock Hotel, scheduled to open in time for ski season.

Along with much-needed room renovations and upgrades of other facilities, the movie multiplex that replaced the beloved High Sierra Theater will be torn out and converted into a new venue. The hotel opened in 1965 as the Sahara Tahoe, and the theater hosted the likes of Elvis Presley and Liberace. Concerts should return, and the roster should appeal to the Hard Rock clientele.

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