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How was your experience? In , the song was released as a single by Bennett on Columbia Records as the b-side to " Once Upon a Time ," peaked at 19 on the U. It also reached number seven on the Easy Listening chart. In , it was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant.
Although the song was originally written for Claramae Turner , who often used it as an encore, she never got around to recording it. The song found its way to Tony Bennett through Ralph Sharon , Bennett's longtime accompanist and friends with the composers. Sharon brought the music along when he and Bennett were on tour and on their way to San Francisco 's Fairmont Hotel.
Ford turned the song down. From the s through the s, at San Francisco's premier supper club the "Venetian Room," Bennett sang the city song. It has often been performed in public by Bennett in concert as well as on special occasions. A statue of Tony Bennett was unveiled outside the Fairmont Hotel on 19 August , in honor of his 90th birthday, the hotel performance, and the song's history with San Francisco.
Buy Now. Premium Stanley Sagov piano. With Ludovico Granvassu. More Awareness Joe Sturges. Myasmo Mia Zabelka. Originations Ryan Cohan.
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Sign in Sign up Email address. Please try again later. Verified Purchase. This is one of Tony's all-time finest albums - every single song is superb, the Ellington touch, the lyrics, the arrangements and, of course, most of all, the phrasing, finesse and vocal strength of one of our all-time greatest vocalists.
This was clearly a labor of love and Tony at his zenith, where he has remained, nearly 20 years later. This is one of his true masterpieces. I'm frankly flabbergasted to find this album listing no higher than 51 among Tony Bennett album sales on Amazon. The Bennett Ellington session receives the attention to detail not to mention the production values and large scale that one might expect of an artist actually two deserving V.
Besides Ralph Sharon's quartet, there are noteworthy guests sitting in--the ubiquitous Wynton Marsalis, the legendary Al Grey, fiddler extraordinaire Joel Smirnoff, and an impressive collection of string players along with arrangements and orchestral direction by the likes of jazz immortal Ralph Burns. The tunes are even arranged to fit into a kind of program, or Ellington travelogue, with Tony beginning the session with just enough measures of music to invite everybody aboard the "A Train.
Whatever, they actually sound like false starts at best, mistakes at worst along with features exclusively for the instruments Wynton's solo on "Chelsea Bridge" compares favorably with my recollection of Dizzy's recording of the same tune with full orchestra.
And to top it off, the timeless and redoubtable Dean of all jazz critics, Nat Hentoff, provides strong liner notes with appreciative and keen insights into both Bennett and Ellington. Still--Ellington is the most difficult of all composers for vocalists to get a handle on. Duke thought of his instrumental players from Bubber Miley and Tricky Sam Nanton through Rex Stewart, Cootie Williams and Quentin Jackson less as instruments than as "voices" hence, the emphasis on mutes, plungers, and vocalized effects from his brass ; conversely, he thought of the human voice as another instrument hence, the wordless soprano voice in an early Cotton Club number like "Creole Love Call" is the predecessor of Johnny Hodges' later playing the same part.
All of which is to say that Ellington's elliptical melodic intervals and difficult chromatics put vocalists to the ultimate test--as do numerous Strayhorn numbers--far more than the compositions of other songwriters.
Tony sings with energy, sensitivity, life and pizzazz, but his voice is often two-dimensional. Instead of the powerful breath support required to do full justice by richly melodic tunes like "In a Sentimental Mood" and "Sophisticated Lady," he's forced to choose between his "shouting mode" "In a Sent-Ti-Ment-Tal Mood"! And on "Don't Get Around" he alternates between the two modes, but not in a manner that makes the most sense.
In short, the session is somewhat over-produced, over-dramatic "Mood Indigo" is a jarring, inappropriate switch if you know the Ellington version , over-theatrical is it really necessary for the vocalist to proclaim, as if in the throes of agony, "I don't get around much anymore"? And of course there are other quibbles. Duke had no use for guitars, so why is one suddenly featured on practically every number to permit Tony to sing softly and still be heard?
In short the recording makes me wish all the more that Duke and Sinatra had gotten together earlier and that Frank had sung a few more of Duke's tunes and with Duke's arrangements even though, unlike some, I'm neither disappointed nor surprised that Ole Blue gave up on trying to record "Lush Life"--Although Sinatra "becomes" the song, if you listen to the Weltzscherz, jaded lyrics of "Lush Life," you'll be grateful Frank didn't go there.
It's also tempting to play out, in the imagination, some of these incomparable songs as being sung by the "least controversial" of all singers I have yet to meet anyone, from classical or jazz backgrounds, who is not totally and immediately captivated by the vocal quality of Johnny Hartman, with or without the presence of Coltrane. As for the strings, Duke made optimal use of Ray Nance's virtuosity, but there's little evidence he was impressed by the "Mantovani thing.
I only wish there were more people to disagree with me. At least that would show that this worthy project is receiving the attention it deserves.I'm frankly flabbergasted to find this album listing no higher than #51 among Tony Bennett album sales on Amazon. It's one of the last "big production" albums just before Sony/Columbia came to some realizations about the high costs of running a first-class operation and proceeded to back up the truck, dumping the Marsalises and a whole stableful of young jazz artists who had been.