Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tony Bennett At Ninety

Anthony Benedetto, better known as Tony Bennett, turns 90 today. After more than sixty years on stage, he still draws huge audiences to his full concert schedule of tunes from jazz, to Broadway, to the Great American Songbook. Bennett has been at the business so long he's had two careers, a fifteen-year affair with the Greatest Generation, and a now thirty-year reinvention with new artists, music, and audiences following a lull during the rock and roll era. Bennett has also been in the forefront of introducing current generations to the Great American Songbook.

Bennett performing in 2003 

Bennett is an interesting blend of vocal talent and showmanship, a well-perfected entertainer with a not so perfect voice. You have to learn how to appreciate the value of a permanent vocal strain and a sound out of vaudeville. For me, it was a long learning process, but I've come to appreciate and enjoy the total Bennett experience.

Lately the entertainer has reached deep into the past for material and produced a series of duet albums with vocalist young and old including, Paul McCartney, Diane Krall, Josh Groban, Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, and Marc Anthony. The man shows no sign of stopping either. The news this week, aside from his big birthday bash at Radio City Music Hall, is the production of a second duet album with Lady Gaga. There's good reason for that given this fine performance from their first album, Cheek to Cheek:

If you like what you hear, buy the music and help keep jazz, swing, and the Great American Songbook alive and well.


Photos and Illustrations:
photo, Tom Beetz


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