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Cloud 7

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Album Review

Released in 1955, when Tony Bennett was only 30 years old, Cloud 7 was the record he fought and earned the right to make. He'd already had a string of hits for the label and was regarded as a major talent. (In 1951 alone he charted seven times.) Bennett was looking to the then new long-playing 33-rpm format LP to bring a record to the public that showcased his voice in a more intimate, mood-setting environment. The cover says it all: it features a slightly out of focus black-and-white photograph of a woman, eyes closed, head thrown back, snapping her fingers with the words "Cloud 7" cursively written in hot pink to frame her face. Produced by Mitch Miller, Bennett surrounded himself with a smallish jazz group and recorded ten standards. The mood is nocturnal, elegant, amorous, hip. The opener is "I Fall in Love Too Easily." Arranged by Chuck Wayne, it was originally used in the soundtrack to the MGM film Anchors Aweigh. A spare, ghostly guitar ushers in Bennett's hum of the intro before the band enters slowly and when that slippery, smoky tenor enters in full, the entire night opens into oblivion. When he ups it a bit for the swinging "My Baby Just Cares for Me," with its muted yet finger-popping guitar swing, the seduction is complete. There is genuine emotion in Bennett's voice as he sings "My Heart Tells Me (Should I Believe My Heart?)," the sultry "Old Devil Moon," "I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me," and the incredible closer, "Darn That Dream." His delivery throughout is unhurried, focused, purposeful. The music found here is more akin to that of Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours than it is to lounge mood music — though that may have been the desired intent of the marketing department at Columbia at the time. Cloud 7 is the album on which Bennett himself realized the full potential of his gift; the album elevated him from being a great pop singer to a bona fide artist. This disc — part of The Tony Bennett Master Series on Legacy — may be short, but it is devastatingly beautiful and loses none of its effect nearly 50 years after its original issue.


Born: 03 August 1926 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Tony Bennett's career has enjoyed three distinct phases, each of them very successful. In the early '50s, he scored a series of major hits that made him one of the most popular recording artists of the time. In the early '60s, he mounted a comeback as more of an adult-album seller. And from the mid-'80s on, he achieved renewed popularity with generations of listeners who hadn't been born when he first appeared. This, however, defines Bennett more in terms of marketing than music. He would probably...
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Cloud 7, Tony Bennett
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