A trigger was London Lee posting re. Sinatra's wonderful 1967 album with Antonio Carlos Jobim, which made me think of Tony's take on 'Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars' (AKA 'Corcovado') - quite different in interpretation to Frank's and, most interestingly, using slighty different English lyrics, which if you're more familiar with the Sinatra or even Astrud Gilberto versions kinda adds a little frisson of newness which is rather nice.
I'd have first heard Tony Bennett on one of my Mum and Dad's early 70s Ronco Records nostalgia compilations (something like 'Stars Of The Fifties' ) - he was mainstream pop back then and a bit of a chart topper but like Sinatra he had jazz, swing and saloon in his veins and knew a fair bit about darkness and heartbreak too (unlike Francis Albert he saw active infantry service in Europe in World War 2 and more than his share of horrors).
I genuinely love 'I Left My Heart In San Francisco' and 'The Good Life', but for me Tony Bennett is at his absolute best when he's upfront of a small jazz group like the long-serving Ralph Sharon's Trio, or singing to the accompaniment of a real musical genius like the pianist Bill Evans on the two albums they made together in the 70s.
I'm glad he's 'found a young audience' via MTV and celeb duets and all that recently (though I could do without him singing with Bono) and it's great that he's at last getting the recognition he deserves; even his (very beautiful) paintings sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars now.
But this is how I most like to hear him...Buon Compleanno Antonio x
Tony Bennett & Bill Evans - 'Waltz For Debby'(1975)
Tony Bennett & Bill Evans - 'Some Other Time' (1975)
And not forgetting...
Tony Bennett - 'Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars' (1963)