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Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings [2 CD] Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, April 14, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Bennett and Evans emerged with two of the best albums of both their careers when they made The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album and Together Again in the mid-'70s. This set greatly expands these beautiful creations with bonus songs and alternate takes from the sessions 41 tracks!
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Disc 2
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 14, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Fantasy Records
  • ASIN: B001UE27X8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,526 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin J. Roberts on April 23, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This issue combines all of the alternate takes that were previously available on three separate issues, and adds just one new alternate take that was not on those issues (the last track on Disc 2 - Who Can I Turn To). The first 5 alternates on Disc 2 were available on the 2006 reissue of the Tony Bennett-Bill Evans Album (which did not get much distribution), all the rest (except the last track) were spread across the 1999 Rhino reissue of Together Again and the 2003 Concord Reissue of Together Again. This may seem frustrating to have yet another reissue, but it pulls everything together in a more logical arrangement, at a bargain price and remastered as well. Given the presence of one of the greatest pianists ever to touch the ivories, and Tony Bennett in his "later period" peak, this is a must, even if you have the earlier issues. If you are a Bill Evans completist, there is that last track too. Nearly every singer is jealous of Tony Bennett having the legendary Bill Evans as an accompanist.
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Format: Audio CD
If you ever wished you could hear Tony Bennett in a small bar with just a piano accompanying him, this set is your wish granted, on steroids. It's Tony at the absolute height of his vocal power, accompanied by Bill Evans, maybe the most lyrical jazz piano player in history. Neither Bennett nor Evans owns the spotlight on these tracks, each shares it willingly. Alternately touching, heartbreaking, wistful, and just simply lovely, this is the one Tony Bennett CD you should own if you own no other. He and Evans genuinely admired and respected one another and it shows throughout their two full albums, collected here with many alternate takes. Bennett considers these simple, intimate sessions among his two or three great works, and I cannot agree more.

Run, don't walk to buy/download The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings. It is a Magnum Opus from two artists, who had already achieved greatness on their own, collaborating in the truest sense of the word to create, as Evans would say, "truth and beauty, that's all."
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The quotation is coincidentally Keats ("Ode on a Grecian Urn"); literally, or factually, they're the last words Bill Evans ever spoke to Tony Bennett (as reported by Evans' biographer and repeated in the program notes by writer Will Friedwald). Having recently worked like a mono-obsessive madman to accompany a vocalist (with Pavarotti chops) accustomed to big band vocal tracks, I decided to order the latest complete version of the two sessions laid down by Bennett and Evans--what did these two giants do to pull off a deceptively hazardous--seemingly impossible--endeavor, with such undeniably stunning success? When one of the alternate tracks is listed as "Take 18," that in itself speaks volumes. These two extraordinarily gifted musicians worked hard and long (obsessively so, it would appear) to achieve a result that practically belies the fact that the expressive source is two musicians, not one: their musical relationship is as tight, unified, of an organic whole as humanly possible. Bill eschews walking bass lines while strictly limiting even his use of explicit two-beat sections to make up for the absence of bass and drums. The latter are present, but in a "virtual" sense that can exist only in the empathetic imaginations, or psychic relationship, of two distinctive voices who, for these extraordinary moments, are of one mind.

The time is there, but it bends to fit words, mood and the moment, taking on a life of its own, serving as an invisible muse whose presence animates the proceedings. Perhaps it's safe to say that this is the most "mystic" of albums by a jazz vocalist.
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Format: Audio CD
"The lonely night discloses
Just a passing breeze
Filled with memories
Of the golden smile that introduced me to
The days of wine and roses and you" ~ Johnny Mercer/Henry Mancini ~

Will Friedwald, author of the essay on this two-CD-set compilation of the complete recordings of Tony Bennett and Bill Evans, ended his Liner Notes with a verse from a poem written by Ernest Dawson whom he noted as the British poet who inspired Johnny Mercer to write one of the most charming tracks from this set, "The Days of Wine And Roses." And I quote:

"They are not long
The days of wine and roses
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while
Then closes with a dream" ~ Edward Dawson ~

He likened it to Tony Bennett's musical relationship with Bill Evans. As much as the legendary singer would love to record more albums with one of the greatest jazz pianists that he had collaborated with, it was not meant to be due to Bill Evans' premature death. Theirs was a short-lived musical partnership but it yielded some of the best recordings in the history of jazz.

Will Friedwald further added that "the Bennett-Evans collaborations are an entirely different kettle of fish. Instead of the singer being accompanied by the pianist, with one in the spotlight and the other compromising a cast of one, both participants are equal partners." That is so true. The complete recordings reveal the two artists in their own respective crafts complementing each other and not overshadowing one another. On these sessions, they were of equal billing and both gave their very best to create some of the jazz masterpieces of all-time.
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