Tony Bennett

Bennett Sings, Basie Swings

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The Roulette half of the two Bennett/Basie sessions is a band singer's paradise, with the Basie band caught at a robust and swinging peak and Bennett never sounding happier or looser in front of a microphone. The Count himself, alas, appears on piano only on two numbers ("Life Is a Song" and "Jeepers Creepers"), while Bennett's perennial pianist Ralph Sharon takes over on the remaining ten tracks and does all the charts. Yet Sharon writes idiomatically for the Count's style, whether on frantic rave-ups like "With Plenty of Money and You" and "Strike Up the Band" or relaxed swingers like "Chicago." Though not a jazz singer per se, the flavor of jazz is everywhere in Bennett's voice, which in those days soared like a trumpet. A great, desirable snapshot from American show biz in the late 1950s.

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