Tony Bennett: Duets II
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DUETS II is the follow-up to Tony Bennett's multi-platinum CD, DUETS, which was released in conjunction with Tony's 80th birthday in 2006. DUETS won three Grammy Awards and was the singer's best selling album to date.
Now the legendary performer celebrates a milestone 85th birthday with the release of DUETS II. The singer has completed recording with Lady Gaga and Aretha Franklin, adding to a celebrated list of artists previously announced including Amy Winehouse, Michael Buble, Norah Jones, John Mayer, Queen Latifah, Carrie Underwood and many others. Lady Gaga joined Tony for a rendition of the Richard Rodgers song, "The Lady Is A Tramp" and Bennett and Franklin collaborated on the Alan and Marilyn Bergman classic, "How Do You Keep The Music Playing."
Phil Ramone produced the original DUETS as well as DUETS II.
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First I must tell you my listening pleasure is selected jazz & classical instrumental music.
The roster of great artists is excellent. The selection of tunes have proven themselves for many, many years, great.
Tony Bennett blends the tune and words very well, telling the story of the song better than anyone. The balance of tune and words are superb.
The supporting Orchestra is good but not great, but it is amazing what studio players can do, really cool.
The voices are well projected with good presence, not dominated by heavily orchestrated music.
It is wonderful to hear these excellent singers without too much entertainment background. This is a great platform for the artist to really show off how good they are. Lady Gaga is a very versatile and creative singer as is the voice of Amy Winehouse/s voice Want to have a romantic dinner for two, this will help.
I recommend this for a relaxing and enjoyable listen. Enjoy.
This duets album, Tony's second, ably serves the latter purpose. By bringing aboard platinum-selling popular singers, he both expands the audience for jazz and gives people known in other genres an opportunity to try something outside of their usual routine. And there are very few recording artists in the world who dare turn down a chance to work with Bennett. It's an honor for younger performers to be asked, as their careers benefit from his guidance and gravitas, while it's a pleasure for long-established stars, since they know his superb taste will make them sound good. He's the perfect partner: relaxed, sensitive, and giving.
Most of the singers on this 85th birthday collection are of the new generation, but Natalie Cole, Sheryl Crow, Andrea Bocelli, and k.d. lang, who recorded an entire CD with Bennett in 2002, are among the few who have been around for a long time. Only two of his guests -- Aretha Franklin and Willie Nelson -- have anything approaching his longevity. The album boasts a diverse assortment of musical royalty: country, rock, soul and R&B, classical crossover, American and Latin pop, and others.
This release is strongest at the beginning, when several pop performers surprise the listener with understated, frequently amusing, and genuinely pleasurable standards, among them Lady Gaga, John Mayer, and Michael Bublé. Their smooth delivery jibes agreeably with Bennett's raspy croon and lyrical punch. The late lamented Amy Winehouse brings to mind Billie Holiday in a languid rendition of "Body and Soul," and k.d. lang is a dreamy delight on "Blue Velvet."
I found the duet with Aretha Franklin less than successful, partly because of a mismatch in their voices and partly as a result of an overly slow tempo, yet it still has its moments. Sheryl Crow was similarly underwhelming, but the problem for me is an emotional detachment that presents a stark contrast to Franklin's quavering histrionics. With Willie Nelson, however, the album gets back on track; the two singers really seem to enjoy one another. Queen Latifah puts her acting skills to use on "Who Can I Turn To" and Norah Jones positively purrs on "Speak Low."
The remaining seven tracks are a mixed bag. The men -- Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, and Alejandro Sanz -- are so different from Tony in their approaches to the material that it sometimes struck me as odd. The ladies, on the other hand, complement his style wonderfully: Natalie Cole on a spirited "Watch What Happens," Faith Hill on a subtle "The Way You Look Tonight," and Carrie Underwood on a lush version of "It Had to Be You." The album closes with a Mariah Carey duet in which she shows admirable restraint.
All in all, an enjoyable recording and a welcome reminder of Tony Bennett's enduring vitality.
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