Monday, December 5, 2011

Strange bedfellows

The Complete Tony Bennett/ Bill Evans Recordings captures the famous collaboration of these two giants of American music in 1975 and 1976. Tony Bennett is a great pop vocalist, but as much cabaret as jazz, while Bill Evans is the most understated and intellectual of jazz pianists. Does it work? More often than you'd expect. "Waltz for Debbie," originally an Evans instrumental masterpiece, becomes something of an embarrassment when put to words. But then, "We'll Be Together Again" is divine, sending a chill. To my ear, it's a piano album. Four years later, Evans would be dead, of "the longest suicide in history." On the other hand, Tony B, it seems, is immortal.

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