"COLLABORATION" is a meeting of minds and fingers, an album in which guitarists George Benson and Earl Klugh join forces to produce a pleasant collection of pop instrumentals. Faint praise? You bet. Getting excited about these seven performances isn't easy. Anyone who's heard either Benson or Klugh appeal to a pop audience in the past, knows what to expect: more of the same.
Several tunes, particularly the title cut and "Brazilian Stomp," recall Benson's mid-'70s pop recordings with their breezy melodies and light scat vocals. Nor is the similarity a coincidence. Producer Tommy Lipuma, the man who first put Benson on the pop charts over a decade ago, has fashioned another lush and shimmering setting, this time for Benson's electric and Klugh's classical guitars. Their respective styles mesh easily.
Keyboardist Greg Phillinganes (best known for his work with Lionel Richie) contributes a couple of contemporary orchestrations, and bassist Marcus Miller and drummer Harvey Mason manage to show a little muscle every now and then. But mostly this is mood music, a soft weave of guitars and hummable melodies. GEORGE BENSON AND EARL KLUGH --
"Collaboration" (Warner Bros. 9 25580-1). Benson appears Sunday at Wolf Trap.