- LP Record (Oct. 25 1991)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Import
- Label: Ojc
- ASIN: B000000YOA
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
Anyone coming to the album without a familiarity with the pianist's work might be initially disconcerted by the absence of an overblown orchestral support; but what you get instead is a purity of attention to the melody and its lyric from the singer and his accompanist. Bennett inevitably takes most of the 'foreground' attention, interpreting each lyric without histrionic effect but with an intimacy and emotional sincerity rare in this type of music (there are no melodramatic, "My Way"-style 'production numbers' here). Evans accompanies with restraint and sensitivity but without submerging his distinctive musical personality. One of the pleasures of the album lies in following the way his accompaniments 'read' the moods and feelings of the lyrics from phrase to phrase, and his improvised solos develop out of, and lead back into, Bennett's choruses in a natural, integral way.
There are of course some lovely songs here, such as "But Beautiful" and "We'll be Together Again", which have, as they say, stood the test of time, and the Bennett-Evans treatment gives them a new freshness.Read more ›
The emotions welling up in me listening to these two masters in musical conversation are too profound and too personal to describe, so I'll simply say:
1. I'm not sure if these are the 'definitive' versions of these songs---or if such a thing can exist---BUT if there are better versions I don't know if I could bear to listen. I might keel over, never to be seen again.
2. For any musician; student of great songs (or interpreters thereof); music fan of discriminating taste; person with the ears to learn about life from great music; and most of all, anyone liking himself enough to want to experience special feelings too rarely expressed about life, and most often expressed through great art:
Do yourself a big favor and get this recording. Invest a few bucks. I wouldn't steer you wrong .
So how does this 1975 date hold up in 2003? Very, very, well. Fans of vocal/instrumental collaborations would be hard pressed to find finer male singing than what is on display here. I think the comparison with the classic 1963 John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman date is somewhat appropriate, although I would say that this record is "different" and is in its own way a masterpiece. That's why it rates the full five stars in my book.
I won't even discuss Bill Evans' playing; everybody knows (or should know) what a legend he was and how influential he still is. For me, it's Tony Bennett's singing that stands out. Equal parts tender, and tough, subtle, and mature, equal parts grand yet intimate, this is pretty much Mr. Bennett's best singing. And what a treat it is. Both of these musicians are in fine and once in a blue moon control of their instruments and it's just wonderful to be a part of it.
Whether as evening music or as "homework" for aspiring singers or piano players, this album is a twentieth century benchmark that draws you in and hugs you like a warm fire on a cold and chilly night.