on November 5, 2002
I thought albums like this one would not be made anymore!
This is definately the best album Tony Bennett has ever made. k.d. lang is a more than equal partner for his singing talent, as her smooth and subtle renditions of popular classics all related to Louis Armstrong adds brilliance to hís still surprisingly dynamic voice.
All the songs are outstanding and T-Bone-Burnett's production underlines that. k.d. lang amazes me, she is even better than Tony. The warmth and the love both of these artists have for their material and for each other is obvious and can be heard in every track.
Not all of the tracks ae duetts - there are also solo songs on the CD. So there's no getting bored with this album. I am pleasantly siurprised. This is too good to be true.
on February 26, 2004
This album is the natural culmination of the Tony Bennett-k.d. lang pairing that we first heard back on Tony's "MTV Unplugged" album. On that cd, Tony introduced k.d. by calling her one of the greatest girl singers; on this cd, she proves him absolutely right.
She is, quite simply, sublime. Listen to her rendition of "Lucky Old Sun" and you won't need to hear any superlatives from me to understand. k.d. is the best female voice around, and a pairing with the best male voice still around after fifty years is simply heaven.
Their voices are perfect together, and the unobtrusive jazz arrangements are the ideal showcase for these two. I've always been in love with Tony Bennett (in fact, what can I say in this review except that he is wonderful as usual?), but it wasn't until this album that I fell in love with the artistry of k.d. lang as well.
It was once said of Fred Astaire that he reminded people that the world was good. The same can be said for these two.
Louis Armstrong was the "Ambassador of American Music", gave so much of himself and never had a mean bone in his body. Well, I can say the same about Mr. Tony Bennett and K.D. Lang, who give life again to the tunes that we all remember with smiles upon our faces. Armstrong really brought popular music to the forefront, in fact he invented so many genres that they number like the stars in the sky. His close friend Bing Crosby once said "Satchmo really started the whole ball rolling with his solo performances from the very beginning". We will never know how much of an influence Armstrong was to the music we now call Easy Listening, Jazz, Blues, R & B(Soul) and Rock. The evolution of his style never wavered, his trumpet playing and vocals are unmistakable. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong duets remain classic standards, are as popular today as they were when recorded.
Tony and K.D. rediscover the songs the whole world fell in love with. Their smooth gentle style that is instantly recognizable takes each tune to another level. Today, the songs inclusive in this album remain among the most beloved of our time. With new pure melodic arrangements by one of the top arrangers in the business Pete Matz, sets the stage for a lineup in a collectors dream. Many would read this album as a soundtrack for the "Jazz Generation", but it's more than that. Listen as both singers serve up gold with their timeless sound. Take for instance "EXACTLY LIKE YOU", Tony starts off with a happy beat that sends you into another stratosphere, wonderful addition from the great tenor saxophone of Scott Hamilton. K.D. takes a chorus with Tony ending the song with "yes dear", nice touch. When Armstrong sang "LA VIE EN ROSE", each lyric took you by the hand and you were special, this arrangement has the same effect only Bennett and Lang take it a step further. The interpretation of "I'M CONFESSIN'(THAT I LOVE YOU)", hits the mark with a perfect bullseye...can remember Ella & Louis performing this back in the '50s. Not much to add with "WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD", touching the heartstrings today just as Pop's did when he sang it, when we were very young. Our next song has been recorded on so many albums by Armstrong, every time we enjoy it as if it were the first time "A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON", at least six films or more has used this for their soundtrack. What a fantastic voice Lang has, her style is so refreshing...and Tony just keeps getting better with age.
From the very first note of this album, I was hooked. No recording performance since, and likely ever will touch my heart and capture my emotions like these two. Once again, Pete Matz (orchestration/conductor), Lee Musiker (musical direction/arrangements) and Rob Mathes (vocal arrangements) went with their gut feeling and it worked for every fan of this genre (good music for pure enjoyment). The mix is complete perfection and you have a wonderful duo that the world will never see again...or will they!
Total Time: 43:48 on 12 Tracks ~ Sony Records CK-86734 ~ (11/05/2002)
on January 26, 2003
The dueting of male and female singing stars has a long and illustrious history. And now Bennett and lang have taken their turn at it, and the outcome is wonderful. Bennett, who has been riding a revival for the past decade still has his smooth delivery of his music crossing romance, joy and intimacy together in one package. And lang continues to spread her versatility into the crooner arena like she had begun with her last couple of albums. Together they sound as if they had been performing forever together.
What started as a single song on Bennett's Unplugged performance CD has grown to a full album. And it shows the potential that was exhibited by the two with "Moonglow." Here they continue their give and take singing as if just to each other, with the listener being able to overhear. The comfort and respect that they have for each other is evident, and as a result the album is a light journey on a musical cloud. Songs such as "Dream a Little Dream of Me" glide across their combined voices and with a musical give and take become a conversation, rather than a concert or performance. Bennett and lang have produced an album that is just a joy to listen to, and I hope this is the first of many collaborations to come.
on February 13, 2003
Well, I certainly am in the minority, but then again I have high standards with respect to such enormously talented individuals as Tony and K.D. They, as well as Louis Armstrong, whose music was to be celebrated on this album, have been done a disservice here. The orchestration is languorous to the point of being soporific. There isn't a trumpet to be heard (roll over, Satchmo!), and not one song conveys the rollicking spirit of the man who to whom they are paying tribute. K.D.'s voice is so rich and multilayered, but Tony's has begun to suffer from the changes in timbre that come with age. More artful production values characteristic of someone like Quincy Jones would have enabled a more elegant meshing of these veteran voices, with richer arrangements. Sorry for you diehard fans, but these two deserved something better than the flat landscape of this production.
on December 24, 2002
k. d. lang has always had a gorgeous voice, but it was kind of hard to pay attention to her sounds when she was cavorting around in silly outfits and generally playing the clown. Now that she's past that era and is allowing her voice to illustrate just who she is and what she brings to the table, she's better than ever. With a voice that on one track sounds the way velvet feels ("What a Wonderful World") and on another is as refreshing as shaved ice with raspberry flavoring on a summer afternoon ("Exactly Like You") she is a perfect compliment to the great Tony, who isn't anywhere close to losing his chops. He still sings like a dream. The two bring humor and heart and peerless talent to the well-chosen selections on this CD--including some of my all-time favorites: "A Kiss to Build a Dream on," "You Can Depend on Me," and "That Lucky Old Sun." When two great singers team up, and you've got a phenomenal tenor sax man like Scott Hamilton dropping by to help out as a sideman, with orchestrations and conducting by Peter Matz, you just can't ask for more. But more would be wonderful--maybe another half dozen collections.
Most highly recommended.
on December 21, 2002
Louis Armstrong is my favorite instrumentalist AND vocalist of all time. So, we have Tony Bennett (the best old style jazz singer still kicking) and K.D. Lang...well, what do you say about K.D. Lang? Just the best voice in so-called country and easily one of the top four vocalists in jazz (with Cassandra Wilson, Diane Reeves and Diana Krall). Now we have these premier singers doing Louie songs. How about that cover of "Exactly Like You". Oh man. I listened to that one four times before I went on the rest of the album. Every song is exquisite. "What a Wonderful World" is my numero uno song on the hit parade of all songs ever written. What a great cover. And dig that cover of "Lucky Old Sun". Whoa. I had to go through that one three times before moving on to "If We Never Meet Again".
So on my fifth listening to this CD, I'd say T-Bone hit another one out of the park...
on February 24, 2003
Tony Bennett shows no sign on slowing down and when you mix k.d. lang's languid vocals, you have a wonderfully lazy album to enjoy while frittering away a Sunday afternoon. "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" and "That Lucky Old Sun" are wonderful and beautifully done. k.d. lang is a fantastic torch singer, giving us an intimate vocal with the barest hint of jazz accompanimentI believe one reviewer mentioned the absence of a trumpet. This is true. In my humble opinion, I think the artists have paid a great tribute to the source material by using the dusky low notes of a sax to complement their voices instead of having someone emulate Louis' trumpet playing ... which should be left alone as stand alone music, if that makes sense. Give this CD a try and you will be hooked after the first listen, I promise!
on November 6, 2002
Since his return to Columbia Records in the 1980s, Tony Bennett has released albums of the best quality...this is one of the best from his already awe-inspiring catalog.
To give equal credit, kd lang has one of the best voices in American music...the combination of their voices is magical.
There is almost no hint of the vocal decline in Bennett's voice that I had been noticing in his most recent albums, such as the Billie Holiday tribute. He sounds to me almost 15 years younger.
Louis Armstrong was a good friend of Tony Bennett's, and I'm confident that Armstrong would be most flattered by the tribute on this album.
This album proves that Tony Bennett, more than anybody else, is keeping the Great American songbook alive and relevant.
I only wish it were longer...it's just 43 minutes. If Sony and the other companies keep raising prices, the consumer deserves a longer product. But at least with a compact disc player you can hit repeat...which I guarantee you will do with this album.
I've listened to hundreds of discs this year, and I'd have to say that this is perhaps the best...a true recording highlight for 2002. This is what sound recording should be all about.
on June 14, 2003
Whoever was inspired to get these two wonderful voices together, to sing the songs of Louis Armstrong, certainly had the right idea. Yet, disappointingly the execution comes out just a bit short of the great gem it could - or should - have been. I am not sure if it's the too-smooth sounding arrangements, or the impression (which, according to people who have seen these two on stage, is wrong) that somehow there is no real chemistry between the two. I had to force myself from flipping to another CD before making it all the way through this one. It simply lacks the sparkle and energy in say, Tony Bennett's Stepping Out CD, his MTV Unplugged, or even on k.d. lang's Unplugged outing.
Nevertheless there's no denying that both of them sound wonderful, so it's still a worthwhile addition to your Bennett/k.d.lang collection.