Tony Bennett Sings for Lovers
(Concord – 2006)
by Matthew Robinson
In a day when every lable and artist is tirelessly trawling their catalogs, vaults, and basements for “new” material, it is at least some comfort to find that one was able to come up with a satisfying set drawing from only four albums.
Having recently merged with Fanrtasy, Concord Records has combined Tony Bennett’s Rodgers & Hart songbook with his two duets with piano diety Bill Evans and his landmark “Life is Beautiful” record. The result is an almost hour-long set of songs that speak to the heart as only the painterly Mr. Bennett can.
From a cabaret-ready take on “My Foolish Heart” and a Dixieland jangle on “Thou Swell” to a self-descriptive version of “But Beautiful” and a title- appropriate take on “Isn’t It Romantic” that features cornetist Ruby Braff, this collection sways from focused piano pieces to even lusher band bits and orchestral offerings, includingan open arrangement of “As Time Goes By” and a peppy and spare rendition of “This Can’t be Love” that is not available on the original “Songbook” album.
So whether you are a Tony Bennett completist who wants evcery available track, a space-conscious collector who wants to get the better parts of four albums in one, or a romantic looking for mood music, this well-balanced compliation is a great introduction to Concord’s heart-minded series and a broad and satisfying reintroduction to a deserving legend. ©2006 M. S. Robinson, ARR