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Vocal Jazz - Released September 25, 2015 | RPM Records - Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Grammy Awards
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Crooners - Released June 18, 1962 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
Along with his producer, Ernest Altschuler, and his arranger/pianist, Ralph Sharon, Tony Bennett had been searching for a repertoire and a musical approach beyond his long-gone pop work with Mitch Miller of the early '50s and his artistically pleasing but commercially dicey jazz work of the mid- to late '50s. It seemed to be a combination of Broadway songs and other contemporary material, carefully selected and arranged to show off Bennett's now-burnished vocals, which, as he approached the end of his thirties, were starting to be located in a more comfortable range closer to a baritone than a tenor. With this album, they found the key, not only by happening across a signature song in the title track, but also in the approach to songs like "Once Upon a Time," a gem from the flop musical All American, and Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh's "The Best Is Yet to Come," which Bennett helped make a standard. (Frank Sinatra didn't do it until two years later.) From here on until the world changed again toward the late '60s, Bennett would not have to feel that he had to compromise his art for popularity, making up-tempo singles in an attempt to meet the marketplace while longing to do ballads and swing material instead. I Left My Heart In San Francisco, a gold-selling Top Ten hit that stayed in the charts almost three years, demonstrated that he could have it all. (Tony Bennett won two 1962 Grammy Awards for the title song: Record of the Year and Best Solo Vocal Performance, Male.) © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Having completed his relatively brief sojourn with MGM/Verve with 1973's Listen Easy, Tony Bennett was in the midst of forming his own label, Improv Records, when he made a deal with jazz pianist Bill Evans to cut two LPs: The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album and Together Again. (The first would be for Evans' label, Fantasy Records, the second to follow on Improv.) The singer and his collaborator -- "accompanist" does not adequately describe Evans' contribution, and in any case he received co-billing -- got together in a recording studio over four days in June 1975 with no one other than the producer, Helen Keane and an engineer present, and quickly recorded two of the best albums of either's career. For Bennett, it was a dream project; for years (decades, actually), he had been balancing the demands of commerciality with his own inclinations toward jazz and affection for the songs of Broadway masters and of the Great American Songbook. Left to himself with a jazz partner, he naturally gravitated toward both interests. There were songs here that he had already recorded, but never in so unadorned and yet fully realized a fashion. Evans was an excellent accompanist, using his steady left hand to keep his singer centered, but ready, whenever the vocals were finished, to go off into his characteristically lyrical playing. Bennett could seem a bit earthbound when he came back in (he still wasn't really a jazz singer), but his obvious enthusiasm for the project, coupled with his mastery of phrasing in songs he understood perfectly made him an equal in the partnership. As far as the major-label record business was concerned, the 46-year-old singer might have been over the hill and indulging himself, but in fact he was in his prime and finally able to pursue his ambitions unfettered, and that would prove itself a major boost to his career over time. For the moment, he'd made an excellent jazz-pop hybrid in which both musicians were shown off to advantage. [Of the 20 alternate takes and two bonus tracks included in this complete package, nine are previously unreleased except on the Bennett box set, The Complete Improv Recordings. Not surprisingly, they are more interesting for Evans' different improvisations than for anything else. But they also demonstrate that he and Bennett tried different approaches to the tunes. "Young and Foolish," the lead-off track on their first album, begins with both Bennett and Evans on the refrain, but the alternate take starts with Evans alone, followed by Bennett singing the song's introductory verse instead; the version runs a minute longer. The alternate take of "The Touch of Your Lips," on the other hand, is at a faster tempo and a minute shorter. None of the alternate takes actually improves on the originally released ones, but they show how well considered the album was.] © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Crooners - Released September 16, 2011 | RPM Records - Columbia

Distinctions 3F de Télérama
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Crooners - Released July 23, 1962 | Columbia - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Recorded on June 9, 1962, one week before the release of the I Left My Heart in San Francisco album that would catapult Tony Bennett's career into the stratosphere, this concert album effectively sums up his accomplishments so far. Some of the hits -- "Stranger in Paradise," "Rags to Riches," "Because of You" -- are still on the set list (although drastically rearranged), but clearly he has found his true repertoire in reinventions of older material like "All the Things You Are" (the version here is exquisite) and good choices of new songs -- he champions the team of Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, and introduces "San Francisco," which some in the audience already know. (Released as a single in advance of the San Francisco album, it was in the charts already.) And on the album's original four LP sides, Bennett managed to find time for such experiments as an up-tempo "Ol' Man River" featuring percussionist Candido, a throwback to his innovative Beat of My Heart album. More than his greatest-hits collections of the '50s and early '60s, it gives a broad sense of Bennett's work, and it does so in the format with which he's most comfortable -- live in concert. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Crooners - Released January 31, 1966 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
By the mid-1960s, retreating from the rock & roll onslaught, that old-time staple of the pre-rock days, the big romantic ballad, had been relegated to Hollywood, where it turned up in the opening and closing credits of movies. Like other classic pop singers, Tony Bennett had sought it out there, and with this album, coincident with his first (and last) acting role in The Oscar, he devoted himself exclusively to movie themes, everything from "The Trolley Song" (Meet Me In St. Louis) to "Days Of Wine And Roses." Some of the tunes were not first-rate, but in "The Shadow Of Your Smile" and "The Second Time Around" (previously recorded by Frank Sinatra), Bennett found material worthy of him, and even when he was faced with minor material, be sang movingly. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released September 22, 2014 | Streamline - Columbia - Interscope

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Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett sang before 2014's Cheek to Cheek -- she popped up on his 2011 collection Duets II -- so this standards album isn't exactly out of the blue. Furthermore, the two aren't such an odd pair. Bennett naturally has a long track record not just in regards to the Great American Songbook, but in presenting it to modern audiences, freshening it up for an MTV Unplugged in 1994 and cutting a full album with k.d. lang in 2002, while Gaga is grounded in music theater and cabaret, a background that is perhaps too apparent on Cheek to Cheek even when it serves her well. She has the chops to sing these warhorses but she sometimes seems unsure of her skills, relying on sheer power when she'd be better off easing into a lyric. Gaga also is occasionally betrayed by her taste for camp -- it's fetching when she's re-creating the splendor of 1976 within the album art but when she begins throwing out flirty asides on "Goody Goody" ("I'm no goodie, I'm a baddie"), she slips on the thin ice she's skating upon. Comparatively, Bennett takes things perhaps a shade too casually, relying on charm as much as skill. This isn't entirely a bad thing. His ease provides a welcome tonic to Gaga's eager glee club theatrics and there are some sparks that arise from this contrast. Also, Cheek to Cheek benefits from sharp arrangements and production that draw upon anything from boisterous, full-bore big bands to swinging, intimate cabaret. Such variety helps spice up a pretty predictable set of songs -- it's a familiar parade of Porter, Berlin, Ellington, Kern, with Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh's "Firefly" being the least-familiar tune (although Bennett has recorded it numerous times since the late '50s) -- but Cheek to Cheek is a record where the music and even the songs take a backseat to the personalities. Gaga and Bennett intended to put on a razzle-dazzle show here and that's exactly what they did. Whether you like it or not depends entirely on how much you dig the way they swing. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Crooners - Released December 16, 2016 | RPM Records - Columbia

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1975 | Fantasy Records

Having completed his relatively brief sojourn with MGM/Verve with 1973's Listen Easy, Tony Bennett was in the midst of forming his own label, Improv Records, when he made a deal with jazz pianist Bill Evans to cut two LPs, this one for Evans' label, Fantasy Records, with another to follow on Improv. The singer and his collaborator ("accompanist" does not adequately describe Evans' contribution, and in any case he received co-billing) got together in a recording studio over four days in June 1975 with no one other than the producer, Helen Keane and an engineer present, and quickly recorded one of the best albums of either's career. For Bennett, it was a dream project; for years (decades, actually), he had been balancing the demands of commerciality with his own inclinations toward jazz and affection for the songs of Broadway masters and of the Great American Songbook. Left to himself with a jazz partner, he naturally gravitated toward both interests. There were songs here that he had already recorded, but never in so unadorned and yet fully realized a fashion. Evans was an excellent accompanist, using his steady left hand to keep his singer centered, but ready, whenever the vocals were finished, to go off into his characteristically lyrical playing. Bennett could seem a bit earthbound when he came back in (he still wasn't really a jazz singer), but his obvious enthusiasm for the project, coupled with his mastery of phrasing in songs he understood perfectly made him an equal in the partnership. As far as the major-label record business was concerned, the 46-year-old singer might have been over the hill and indulging himself, but in fact he was in his prime and finally able to pursue his ambitions unfettered, and that would prove itself a major boost to his career over time. For the moment, he'd made an excellent jazz-pop hybrid in which both musicians were shown off to advantage. [The five alternate takes included as bonus tracks on the 2006 reissue of the album are, not surprisingly, more interesting for Evans' different improvisations than for anything else. But they also demonstrate that he and Bennett tried different approaches to the tunes. The album's lead-off track, "Young and Foolish," begins with both Bennett and Evans on the refrain, but the alternate take starts with Evans alone, followed by Bennett singing the song's introductory verse instead; the version runs a minute longer. The alternate take of "The Touch of Your Lips," on the other hand, is at a faster tempo and a minute shorter. None of the alternate takes actually improves on the originally released ones, but they show how well considered the album was.] © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Crooners - Released October 7, 2011 | Columbia - Legacy

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Crooners - Released June 28, 1994 | Columbia - Legacy

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Ambient/New Age - Released October 13, 2008 | RPM Records - Columbia

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Crooners - Released February 18, 1963 | Columbia - Legacy

As the studio album followup to Tony Bennett's breakthrough record, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, I Wanna Be Around had a lot to live up to, but since San Francisco was a culmination of Bennett's development, and not a fluke, I Wanna Be Around turned out to be almost on a par with its predecessor. "The Good Life" and "I Wanna Be Around" became Top 20 hits, showing that Bennett had somehow found a line into good new pop material, and there were also some excellent arrangements, courtesy of Marty Manning, including a percussion-and-flute reading of "Let's Face the Music and Dance" that echoed the Beat of My Heart album and a nod to the South American trend with Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Quiet Nights (Corcovado)." A worthy successor. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Crooners - Released January 1, 1980 | RPM

Tony Bennett has so many adoring celebrity fans it should come as no surprise that when a major duets album is planned, he's able to draw a roster of the biggest recording stars from the rock and vocal worlds, plus a pair of country music wildcards. (This despite the fact that he recorded an album with several duets in 2001, and a full-album collaboration one year later with k.d. lang.) One surprise is how well producer Phil Ramone paired Bennett with both duet partners and fitting standards -- among them Barbra Streisand on the optimist's anthem "Smile," Dixie Chicks for the flapper standard "Lullaby of Broadway," Bono on the wickedly spiteful "I Wanna Be Around," Tim McGraw on "Cold, Cold Heart" (the Hank Williams song that was Bennett's biggest country crossover hit), Stevie Wonder on his own "For Once in My Life," Juanes for "The Shadow of Your Smile" (which was a hit first for the Brazilian Astrud Gilberto), and Sting on the torch song "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." (Even the title of "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" seems fit for George Michael to sing.) Each performance was recorded with Bennett and his duet partner live in the studio -- it could be no different for such an old-school vocalist -- and the setup allows for maximum warmth and congeniality. Yet, aside from the novelty of the billings, Duets: An American Classic doesn't thrill like Bennett's solo recordings of the previous ten years. The arrangements of Jorge Calandrelli are heavy on serene strings that wrap the melodies in layers of soft gauze, and few concessions are made to the needs of the material; virtually every song is either a soft vocal pop number or a finger-snapping swinger. As befits an all-star affair, every edge is polished to a fine sheen and, more than a few times, the feelings his duet partners attempt to summon sound quite superficial. Of course, every vocal interpreter in the business sounds a little forced when compared to Tony Bennett. © John Bush /TiVo
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Ambient - Released September 15, 1992 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop - Released April 19, 1965 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Concord Records

In sessions recorded in September 1973, Tony Bennett cut a series of songs by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, backed by the Ruby Braff - George Barnes Quartet. Originally, they resulted in two albums on Bennett's Improv Records, each containing ten selections. The material has been collected several times, including on the 1990 DRG collection The Rodgers and Hart Songbook, the 1999 Rhino disc Sings Rodgers & Hart Songs, and the 2005 Concord compilation Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook. Bennett is a sterling interpreter, and the backup is sympathetic. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released May 3, 1986 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1977 | Concord Records

Tony Bennett's second, and final, meeting with Bill Evans is a memorable session for several reasons. Bennett is very relaxed and inspired by Evans' imaginative yet reserved accompaniment, which allows the spotlight to stay focused on the singer. The program is a wide-ranging mix of standards ("You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Dream Dancing") and classic jazz compositions (including Evans' bittersweet "The Two Lonely People," and Thad Jones' moving "A Child is Born"). The two veterans blend so well, that it sounds as if getting together in the studio was a regular occurrence. Evans performs the subtle ballad "The Bad and the Beautiful" as a solo, the only song which Bennett sits out. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 4, 2013 | Columbia - Legacy