It’s difficult to fathom the fact that Tony Bennett has been selling hit songs for five decades. It seems that I bought my copy of Because Of You
only yesterday but it was, in fact, fifty-four years ago. Bennett will soon be eighty years old and he shows no signs of age. His phenomenal sense of time is still unrivaled.
Tony Bennett and Columbia Records are often mentioned in the same breath. They have been together since 1950. That’s amazing in its own right.
Tony Bennett has always attracted top-notch jazzmen and it continues to be the case. Years ago, it was Bobby Hackett, Dick Hyman, Count Basie and others
. In 2004 we are offered Phil Woods
and Candido Camero
plus Bennett’s superb quartet. Things have not changed. Just listen to Woods and Camero on Being Alive
. Absolutely wonderful!
In addition to a great voice, fabulous style, perfect time and classy musicians, Bennett has, above all else, unerring taste in picking his material. This album features songs from Johnny Mandel, Paul Williams, Oscar Hammerstein, Django Reinhardt, Stephen Sondheim and Harold Arlen. Tony wrote his own lyrics for Django’s All For You
It was a complete surprise to find a tune by Geoffrey Clarkson & Johnny Mercer
on this CD. While everyone knows Johnny Mercer, few will identify with Geoffrey Clarkson. He was sixteen years of age in 1931 when, together with his father and bandleader Peter Van Steeden, he penned the very popular Home (When Shadows Fall)
. I have fifty or more versions of Home
and avidly collect the song. It was interesting to find another Clarkson melody, Time To Smile
on Bennett’s latest release. It was something that the singer discovered himself. The song has been unheard since a 1940 radio program starring Abbott & Costello
Nobody delivers a love song better than Tony Bennett. Ask any lady over 40. A number of jazz writers place this album within their top ten picks of 2004. I echo their feelings. The Art Of Romance
is a gem!