In celebration of his 80th birthday, Tony Bennett performs 18 of his hits and favorite numbers with famous duet partners including Sting, Bono, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, and Tim McGraw -- all live in the studio with the master.
About the Artist
At this point, who else but Tony Bennett would have the clout to round up stars on the scale of Elton John, Paul McCartney, Bono, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand for some duets? (Note also that unlike some similar projects, all the parties involved on this CD were alive when it was recorded!) The material consists of relatively obvious classics in standard big-band arrangements, and Bennett himself is in top form at age 80, so much so that he doesn't need anybody else to handle "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." But the fun comes from checking out how his collaborators fare. The Dixie Chicks provide wonderful Andrews Sisterstype harmonies on the percolating version of "Lullaby of Broadway" that opens the festivities. The best songs tend to be the ones where Bennett's slightly craggy voice is juxtaposed to smooth female ones, like Diana Krall on "The Best Is Yet to Come," familiar accomplice k.d. lang on the sultry "Because of You" and Streisand-perhaps Bennett's only equal in stature at this pointon "Smile." Among the less expected guests, soulman John Legend is a revelation on the hard-swinging "Sing, You Sinners," while George Michael confirms hes quite the crooner on "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" Elvis Costello, Celine Dion or Juanes don't sound as comfortable, and sometimes it feels as if they overdo it to compensate, but overall this collection is among the best of its kind, with most guests rising to the occasion. --Elisabeth Vincentelli