All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

14

Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap: The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern

James Doherty By

Sign in to view read count
Tony Bennett and pianist Bill Charlap explore the songbook of Jerome Kern on this new release from RPM/Columbia Records. A return to intimate small group jazz, the album marks a welcome reprieve for Bennett, whose work in recent years has been dominated by over-produced duets with an array of current pop superstars. Charlap's well thought out arrangements and sympathetic accompaniment allow Bennett the space he needs to truly take ownership of the material, which includes staples such as "All the Things You Are," "Yesterdays," and "The Song is You." Now approaching 90, he retains good control of his voice, his vibrato only slightly shaky on long notes. The Silver Lining finds Bennett relaxed and expressive, confidently bringing to bear his almost seven decades of performing experience.

Like Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra before him, lyrics have always been as important to Bennett as melody. He is, therefore, especially communicative on the ballads, thoughtfully pitching his volume and modulating his tone. On the compulsory "The Way You Look Tonight," his voice descends to a soft and intimate whisper, Charlap's understated and sparse piano complementing the singer's raw vulnerability. Having learned that just enough trumps too much, Bennett masterfully seasons the music with well-placed silences and spaces and restricts his use of melodic embellishments so that when they do come, the effect is dazzling. One such moment occurs in the first chorus of "They Didn't Believe Me": the trill on the word "tell" (in the line 'And when I tell them...'), in retrospect so logical and apt yet at first listen so unanticipated, leaves the listener tantalised.

The up-tempo numbers are energetic rhythmic workouts, with Bennett bouncing infectiously over Charlap's crisp and steady piano. This kind of sprightly swing suits selections like "Pick Yourself Up" and "Nobody Else But Me," both of which feature singer and accompanist in a fun and jaunty groove.

On seven of the fourteen tracks there is sturdy accompaniment from Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums. Three of the remaining tunes (all ballads, incidentally) feature two pianists: Charlap himself and his wife Renee Rosnes. The Silver Lining goes straight to the top drawer of Bennett's vast discography and, as a piano-vocal album, is as rewarding as his celebrated meetings with Bill Evans in the mid-seventies.

Track Listing: All the Things You Are; Pick Yourself Up; The Last Time I Saw Paris; I Won't Dance; Long Ago and Far Away; Dearly Beloved; The Song Is You; They Didn't Believe Me; I'm Old Fashioned; The Way You Look Tonight; Yesterdays; Make Believe; Nobody Else But Me; Look For the Silver Lining.

Personnel: Bill Charlap: piano; Renee Rosnes: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Kenny Washington: drums.

Title: The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Columbia Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Return to the Future CD/LP/Track Review
Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Telepathy CD/LP/Track Review
Telepathy
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 17, 2018
Read The Whole Thing Is Just There CD/LP/Track Review
The Whole Thing Is Just There
by John Bricker
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Haydn: Symphony No. 39, Symphony No. 87, Mozart – Sinfonia Concertante CD/LP/Track Review
Haydn: Symphony No. 39, Symphony No. 87, Mozart –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Rogue Star CD/LP/Track Review
Rogue Star
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Out in the Open CD/LP/Track Review
Out in the Open
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 16, 2018
Read "Out Of Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Toot Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Toot Suite
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "Vol.2" CD/LP/Track Review Vol.2
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 28, 2018
Read "Across The Bridge" CD/LP/Track Review Across The Bridge
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 30, 2018
Read "Better Than Gold and Silver" CD/LP/Track Review Better Than Gold and Silver
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 11, 2018
Read "Weapons Of Mass Distraction" CD/LP/Track Review Weapons Of Mass Distraction
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 31, 2017