In Celebration of Tony Bennett’s 85th Birthday
by Daniel Haim
American icon Tony Bennett will celebrate his 85th birthday this year with a new CD, “Tony Bennett: Duets II,” which will be released on September 20th on RPM/Columbia Records. Bennett has already begun the live recording process with several artists during Grammy week in February at LA’s famed Capitol Studios. Subsequent sessions are planned for this Spring in New York, Nashville and Italy. “Duets II,” produced by Phil Ramone follows up “Tony Bennett Duets: An American Classic” CD, the 2006 Grammy winning best selling CD which became Bennett’s best selling recording to date.
Alone Tony Bennett is legendary. In partnership with another singer, he’s extraordinary. A sterling all-star roster will join Tony in the studio including Mariah Carey, Natalie Cole, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse. Some of country’s biggest names will also join the round-up including Faith Hill, Willie Nelson and Carrie Underwood. From the international pantheon: angel-voiced tenor Andrea Bocelli from Italy and Latino singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz from Spain. Josh Groban and John Mayer are also slated to collaborate with Bennett. Michael Buble and k.d. lang who were both featured on the original “Duets” CD will return for “Duets II.” All artists will record their duets live in the studio with Bennett.
“I love the Great American songbook and have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to introduce many of these songs to the public…It is a thrill to perform them once again with artists that I admire to create new interpretations of the music I love so much,” says Bennett.
Bennett’s long-time manager and son Danny Bennett remarked, “The Duets CDs, the first one and this latest project, truly shine a light on the creative process that takes place between Tony and each of his singing partners. It’s fascinating to witness how each song unfolds, all recorded live, as it happens in the studio.”
“The way Tony builds and shares the song is extraordinary. He is generous and warm and gives his partner great solo moments and then watching the duet come to its climax is thrilling. The preparation and care allows the guest to experience a live recording session as Tony records. It’s a large canvas with no style limitations,” commented 15-time Grammy producer Phil Ramone.
The US and international recording sessions for “Duets II” are being filmed by Academy award winning cinematographer Dion Beebe (“Chicago,” “Memoirs Of A Geisha,” “Collateral”) and will be released as a documentary in conjunction with the new CD project, providing an in depth study of Bennett’s creative and artistic process.
\Also, plans are underway for Bennett to make his debut appearance this fall at the Metropolitan Opera House. AARP, which sponsored Bennett’s 2007 concert tour, will once again be involved in several Bennett activities celebrating his 85th year.
There is something about a duet that loves Tony Bennett. On the occasion of his 80th birthday, “Tony Bennett Duets: An American Classic” was released to wild critical acclaim, became a multi-platinum masterpiece and was awarded three Grammys.
Entering his seventh decade as a recording artist with over 100 albums and 15 Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Bennett has earned his legendary status many times over. He remains the Columbia recording artist with the greatest longevity at the label. His 2007 prime-time special, “Tony Bennett: An American Classic,” won seven Emmy Awards. A visual artist as well, three of his original paintings are part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian. His humanitarian efforts are renowned and the United Nations honored him with their Humanitarian Award in 2007. He has published three books – his autobiography, “The Good Life” and two books of his paintings, “Tony Bennett: What My Heart Has Seen,” and “Tony Bennett In the Studio; A Life of Art and Music.” Bennett founded, in association with the Department of Education in New York City, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts – a public arts high school in his hometown of Astoria, Queens. With his wife Susan, he established Exploring the Arts, a charitable organization which supports arts education in NYC public high schools. Exploring the Arts supports seven additional public high schools throughout New York City.