VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases
09 APR 09 ANNE FARNSWORTH
If you always thought of Tony Bennett as a saloon singer and didn't know he could dig deep as a jazz vocalist, you should listen to The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album. If you've always wondered how jazz piano giant Bill Evans would approach accompanying a singer, you should check out Together Again. Better yet, pick up The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings (Fantasy), a remastered CD that combines both intriguing recordings.
Recorded in 1975 and '77 respectively, the two artists were in their prime -- Bennett taking rightful place as one of America's top balladeers and Evans in full flower (not to mention full beard) after changing the sound of jazz piano in the '60s. They met as equals, co-arrangers, as illustrated by the first album's cover photo of Bennett leaning over as Evans makes a change to the chart. A bittersweet moment in time, for we would lose Evans just three years after the second album was finished.
As befits the intimate nature of a duo performance, this collection is all about ballads. The American Songbook is well represented, with some notable exceptions. Two beautiful waltzes that are under-recorded in their vocal versions are Thad Jones' "A Child Is Born" and Evans' classic "Waltz For Debby." My favorites are the songs that signify Bennett for me -- "Young And Foolish," "Make Someone Happy" and the peerless "But Beautiful."
Waltz For Debby (Take 2)
The Bill Evans Trio, from Waltz For Debby
Thad Jones, from Thad Jones
in this playlist.