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Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power

Posted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:46 pm
by sturgess66
Whether or not he is your "cup of tea," Tony Bennett is another elder out there who is still singing away - touring - doing shows - and he is not just going through the motions. And like someone else, always works with the finest of musicians. He is not a songwriter but an interpreter of "the classics. He is also an artist - has had exhibitions of his paintings.

The article mentions Leonard Cohen. ... story.html

By Adrian Chamberlain, Times Colonist

October 7, 2009

Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power
Tony Bennett.jpg
Tony Bennett.jpg (11.18 KiB) Viewed 3807 times
Tony Bennett: Status transcends the whims of fashion.
Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist

What: Tony Bennett

Where: Royal Theatre

When: Last night

Leonard Cohen's not the only senior citizen still drawing enthused audiences. Enter Tony Bennett, now 83 years old.

Just the fact that Bennett --one of America's best vocalists -- is still touring is awfully impressive. Happily, the man who hit it huge in 1962 with his signature song, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, continues to perform well, as last night's concert at the Royal Theatre proved.

Backed by a crack quartet, Bennett sang a 90-minute show replete with American songbook favourites. Amazing for a man in his ninth decade, he performed with considerable power, routinely ending splashy tunes such as Boulevard of Broken dreams (a song he recorded back in 1950) with climaxes almost operatic in their melodrama.

Jazz musicians have long admired Bennett because of his hip, effortless way of phrasing. Frank Sinatra dubbed him "the best singer in the business." Like Johnny Cash in his latter years, Bennett has deservedly achieved an iconic pop culture status that transcends the whims of fashion.

When any performer reaches the winter of their career, the question is always: Can they still pull it off? Comparing Bennett's concerts today to his recordings of the 1950s or 1960s is not exactly fair. Time is bound to change the timbre of anyone's voice.

In Victoria, some may have noticed a reediness in the singer's middle register; perhaps a loss of suppleness at times. Yet Bennett's retained most of what makes him a terrific vocalist. At best, his voice boasts a manly huskiness -- especially potent when he's attacking a crescendo, as it imbues a song with emotional heft.

This was, for instance, apparent in Bennett's rendition Of Maybe This Time, a ballad about an unlucky man yearning for a constant love. Riding on his band's triple forte, the singer went for an open-voiced big ending, earning cheers from the crowd.

Bennett seemed ever the consummate professional, looking dapper in a dark suit with a red pocket square. Despite decades of concerts and more than a dozen Grammys, he still approaches music with genuine enthusiasm. His approach is highly musical; he's more about doing justice to the song than riding on showbiz laurels, as many in his shoes would. One can see Bennett aims for -- and often achieves -- the sort of easy, syncopated phrasing associated with jazz soloists.

The audience was happy to chuckle forgivingly when Bennett lost one of the opening lines to I Left My Heart in San Francisco. Such stumbles were rare -- unlike the late career Sinatra, he doesn't use a teleprompter to remember lyrics. Again, Bennett displayed his artistry by singing this ballad, performed so many times, with the bona fide enthusiasm that makes any song fresh.

Gershwin's 1931 tune Who Cares? -- with lyrics such as "Let it rain and thunder/Let a million firms go under" -- was fittingly introduced as still topical for today's uncertain economic times. The night included interpretations of Steppin' Out With My Baby, I Got Rhythm, The Best is Yet to Come, In a Mellow Tone, The Good life and It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing).

Some songs were represented just a couple of verses and a chorus. That was fine -- it merely seemed like Bennett wanted to cover considerable ground in a limited time.

The evening's most remarkable moments came near the end, when Bennett sang Fly Me to the Moon. Backed only by his guitarist, the singer sang it off-microphone. The effect was intimate, poignant and truly unforgettable.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
At age 61 -
How Can You Make the Music Last?

In 2006 - singing Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart"

And in 2009 at age 83 - singing Jerome Kern - "The Way You Look Tonight" - with his pianist Bill Charlap - on the Sundance Series "Spectacle."*
"I've Got the World On A String with the amazing Diana Krall" ... ting_N.htm

*Elvis Costello's 2009 "Spectacle" series on Sundance - excellent guests and well worth watching

Editing - I just had to come back in here and fix all my typos. I found 5. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power

Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:17 am
by Kush

Did a search on Tony Bennett and found this article posted by Sturgess almost two years ago. I have been hearing the legendary Tony Bennett - Bill Evans recordings recently after downloading it 2 months ago and it is fantastic. Perhaps not immediately accessible which is why it took me so long to get into it but very rewarding.
And nice article Sturgess - even if it took me 2 years to get around to responding. :)

Waltz for Debby

The Two Lonely People

Young and Foolish

A Child is Born

p.s. And I am a Bill Evans neophyte....that will undoubtedly change.

Re: Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power

Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:06 pm
by sturgess66
Hey Kush! Thanks for bumping up and posting new music links.

Tony just keeps on singing - he knows how to "keep the music playing." He has such a knowledge of, love, and respect, for all the music of those most wonderful composers - Jerome Kern, the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter - and many, many other. The likes of which ...
And as well - a great respect for the very best of musicians that he chooses to work with him.

A link I posted above is no longer valid - for the beautiful Michel LeGrand love song- another song that has become Tony's.
So here is a link that works -

How Do You Keep the Music Playing (Japan 1988)

A tough song to sing - and his performances of this song twenty years later have only gotten better.

These years - he seems to be enjoying himself - doing a lot of collaborations with other musicians/singers - keeping the music playing.

Re: Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power

Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:01 pm
by bridger15
Backed by a crack quartet, Bennett sang a 90-minute show
Well, that was not my experience and I was not impressed at all.
I would have been pleased with a full 90 minutes of Tony Bennett

About ten years ago, I bought three expensive tickets, one for me and two for a couple as my way of reciprocating for several dinner and brunch invitations. The concert took place in Toronto at Roy Thompson Hall.

The first half - about 50 minutes -no Tonny Bennet. Just a full orchestra doing its thing. B O R I N G.

An intermission of about 20 minutes followed that.

The second half opened, orchestra number first, I suppose to "warm up" the audience.
Then Tony Bennett came on stage.

He sang about three songs. Left the stage. The orchestra did a number.
He came back on stage and this happened several times.
I do not recall if there were any encores. It was a less than memorable concert.
He sang at the most for 30-40 minutes in a two hour concert.

I really felt ripped off. I swore no more Tony Bennett concerts.


Re: Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power

Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:28 pm
by sturgess66
Sounds like you went to an orchestra concert Arlene - a "POPS" concert - at Roy Thompson Hall - one that "featured" Tony Bennett - and Ralph Shannon Quartet - and what you describe is typical for that sort of presentation - a pops singer with an orchestra.

'Twas not an entire show by Tony Bennett.

Probably this is the one?
Good pre-concert article below with a bit of an interview with Tony - "Classy cat that he is." :D ... 43238.html
January 14, 2000
Cool cat, warm chat
By ERROL NAZARETH -- Toronto Sun

I know I'm presenting an unorthodox position, one that my Pops -- a connoisseur of great singers -- would be the first to contest, but hear me out.

Put aside the impeccable phrasing and the excellent pipes for which Tony Bennett is so revered and ask yourself why we dig this man so much.

The answer reveals itself in anything the eternally hip crooner from Queens has recorded during his 50 years in the biz: His work is imbued with a warmth and sincerity that can not be manufactured.

You'll come face-to-face with this warmth if you're fortunate to have a lengthy conversation with Bennett, and you'll have no choice but to let it envelop you.

This is how it is and how it has been with anyone who's encountered Bennett.

He's at Roy Thomson Hall Monday with the Ralph Sharon Quartet.

Classy cat that he is, Bennett apologizes for being late for our interview, says, "Thank you for the good questions," at the end of our chat, and invites me backstage so I can get his autograph for my Pops.

'Big, beautiful man'

"He was a big, beautiful man," the incomparable and hugely influential Duke Ellington once said. "With all his greatness, his hat size never had to be larger than his artistic stature."

It seems fitting to include the Duke's words here, considering that Bennett decided to honour the jazz colossus last year on his deeply soulful CD, Bennett Sings Ellington/Hot And Cool.

"Everybody talks about the Beatles and Elvis and about the billions of records they sold, yet when I travel around the world I don't hear any Beatles music, I hear Duke Ellington," Bennett says from his Manhattan pad.

And what does Tony Bennett hear when he hears Duke Ellington?

"What I hear is true creativity," he says during a conversation in which he bursts into song three times. "His music is so magical, it lingers in your mind. These songs stayed in my brain and I decided to sing them."

Duke's individualism wasn't the only thing that inspired this former singing waiter.

"He was a complete individual who insisted on being himself, and he respected artists who were themselves," says Bennett, who is praised for his artistic integrity as much as his voice. "I grew up in an era where you had to be different or you weren't recognized. Today, it's just the opposite.

"I was rewarded by his genius, just knowing him and watching him and being amazed every single day I was with him," says Bennett, who received flowers from Ellington every time the Duke composed a song. "I was on the road with him for a year-and-a-half and his energy and creativity amazed me."

And we're in awe that Bennett, who's 73, is averaging 200 performance dates a year and sounding better than ever.

Bennett credits bel canto singing -- an operatic technique that uses breath to regulate intensity of sound -- for this.

"It creates an anchor and solidity to your voice," he explains. "It keeps it in very good shape, so you never sound tired and your voice never wavers.

"It's the healthiest thing for your voice," he adds. "I mean, here I am at 73 and I have the same vocal equipment I had when I was 18 as a result of doing bel canto for about 15 minutes every day."

Place to practise

I understand the washroom is the venue of choice for singers looking for a place to practise, I say.

"They're right," Bennett says laughing. "It's not a dead room, it has a little reverb."

Given that his army of young fans uses the word "cool" to describe him, I couldn't let Bennett off without asking him for his definition of cool.

"Well, cool means that someone's with it."


"Whatever that means," he adds, laughing heartily. "That he's right in there, he's accepted, he's okay."

E NOTE: Tix for Tony Bennett are $59.50, $76.50, and $125 and are available at the Roy Thomson Hall box office or by calling 872-4255.

The concert begins at 8 p.m.

Re: Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power

Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:50 am
by Kush
well I wasnt there of course but I suspect the concert was probably not just a Tony Bennett concert with backing orchestra. If I were to go see Tony bennett performing with say Count Basie Orchestra I'd expect a substantial portion of it would be the orchestra alone. I am sure that would not be boring for everyone, some might enjoy less Bennett, more orchestra. :)
He has such a knowledge of, love, and respect, for all the music of those most wonderful composers - Jerome Kern, the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter - and many, many other. The likes of which ...
yes love all those guys. As much as I like and appreciate the singer-songwriter music and that generation part of me wishes for the music of the time when singers would sing and composers would compose and lyricists would write lyrics. And it is actually becoming more popular these days I believe. Mr. Bennett may be right -

Re: Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:28 pm
by table top joe
I saw the mighty Mr Bennett last year and he was outstanding,he did 90 minutes,and his voice was amazing,the most naturaly,effortlessly talented singer ive ever heard,the guy is a total gent too,he's my favourite music for making dinner as well(i like to sing along....badly :oops: )


Re: Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:31 am
by Kush
Yes from everything I have heard he is a very decent guy. I was actually not that familiar with his music but used to hear him off and on. But the Bill Evans - Tony Bennett album is a masterpiece I think.

He has an interesting bio - he has frequently and publicly credited Sinatra for turning his career around but the following from wiki goes above and beyond simple gratitude.

Together [he and partner Susan Crow] they founded Exploring the Arts, a charitable organization dedicated to creating, promoting, and supporting arts education. At the same time they founded (and named after Bennett's friend) the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, a public high school dedicated to teaching the performing arts, which opened in 2001 and would have a very high graduation rate.[2] It was a tribute in return, for in a 1965 Life magazine interview Sinatra had said that:

"For my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business. He excites me when I watch him. He moves me. He's the singer who gets across what the composer has in mind, and probably a little more."[18]

Re: Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:01 am
by sturgess66
Thanks for that Kush - again! :D
I knew about the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in NYC - but had no idea that Tony was the founder! ... efault.htm

I saw this on Facebook today -
Tony Bennett to Honor Amy Winehouse at Video Music Awards


By Steve Baltin
August 23, 2011 4:20 PM ET

Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse in London
Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Tony Bennett will return to the MTV Video Music Awards stage this Sunday night in Los Angeles for the first time since 1993 to pay tribute to the late Amy Winehouse, an MTV spokesperson tells Rolling Stone.

... ... s-20110823

Re: Impressive -- Tony Bennett at 83 still sings with power

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:42 am
by Kush
Thanks for the link to the school Sturgess. I think it is impressive that he is giving back to society in this manner and morever not in his own name (or a relative) but in a friends name. I did not know a Frank Sinatra school existed until I read Mr. Bennetts bio on wiki.

I am not yet up to speed with Amy Winehouse music although I did note her sad demise. The other young lady who is making a lot of noise these days I have heard a few songs of her, Lady Gaga, and she is freaky, fruity and very talented.