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Tony Bennett: The Essential Tony Bennett

AAJ Staff By

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Tony Bennett ends nearly every performance with the musical question "How do you keep the music playing?" After nearly five decades in the industry, the more important question seems to be how do you capture the music on a two-disc set? And yet that's what Tony’s appreciative label has tried to do. From a Grammy-winning live take on "It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing)" to Bennett’s signature "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," this latest collection offers a career-spanning selection of Bennett’s greatest and most beloved hits, as well as lesser known numbers: the encouraging "Sing you Sinners," the touchingly romantic "I Do Not Know a Day I Did Not Love You," and the previously unreleased "Rules of the Road" (and who would know better than Tony?).

Through the thoughtful and triumphant "For Once in My Life" and the experimental changes at the end of "Mood Indigo," the album also demonstrates Bennett’s range, both emotionally and vocally. What it demonstrates most fully, however, is the personal care Bennett takes with every song. Deferring to the lyrics and also to his bandmates (who include a modern day Gene Krupa named Clayton Cameron and contemporary crooner kd lang), Bennett lets the words come first, acting as a conduit and conductor in a way that lets the message ring true and clear. Though not every Bennett hit is here ("Love Story" for example), the double disc set does an impressive job at keeping the music playing and paying tribute to one of its staunchest supporters.


Track Listing: 1. Because Of You 2. Cold, Cold Heart 3. Blue Velvet 4. Rags To Riches 5. Stranger In Paradise 6. Sing You Sinners 7. The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (Gigolo And Gigolette) 8. Just In Time 9. It Amazes Me 10. Love Look Away 11. Firefly 12. Put On A Happy Face 13. The Best Is Yet To Come 14. Tender Is The Night 15. Once Upon A Time 16. I Left My Heart In San Francisco 17. I Wanna Be Around 18. The Good Life 19. This Is All I Ask 20. When Joanna Loved Me 21. The Rules Of The Road

Title: The Essential Tony Bennett | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Legacy Recordings


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