This 1954 release was Tony Bennett's first full album and one of Columbia's first 12" long-playing records. He puts a jazz spin on I Fall in Love Too Easily; My Baby Just Cares for Me; Old Devil Moon; Love Letters , and a bunch of other standards. CD debut for Bennett's breakthrough album!
Although he'd scored a string of successful pop singles for Columbia in the early 1950s, Tony Bennett's career as jazz singer proper began on this, his first effort in the fledgling LP format. This long out-of-print 1955 release (released here on CD for the first time as part of the label's Tony Bennett Master Series) has been a perennial favorite among Bennett aficionados, and for good reason. Framed by the intimate, small combos (led on most of the cuts by guitarist Chuck Wayne) he still favors a half-century later, one can hear the forceful, neo-theatrical delivery of the singer's early sides give way here to the supple vocal charms that would make his legend. But that's only half the story: Bennett peruses the American songbook with a connoisseur's nose for distinction, and it's small wonder that he still revisits the exuberance of "Old Devil Moon" and earnest warmth of "Give Me the Simple Life" five decades later. The waxing and waning of Bennett's fortunes over that period only reflect the fickle nature of fashion; this intimate collection firmly underscores the sound artistic instincts beneath his remarkable legacy. --Jerry McCulley