16 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Yes, you read that right: the king of jazz vocalists and the queen of provocative art-pop have teamed up for a duets album, performing a set of standards by icons like Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Duke Ellington. It's not the stretch you might think. As her fans know, Gaga has chops. She's a piano whiz and a vocal acrobat, as she demonstrates by hitting those high notes on "Nature Boy" (dig the flute solo). And Bennett is Bennett: cool as ice and twice as smooth. The tunes are classically arranged with strings, horns, and walking bass lines: there are no art-pop detours here, and it's refreshing to hear Gaga singing absent the conceptual pomp of her usual fare. It may be just another one of her arch personas, but it's one she does exceptionally well.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Yes, you read that right: the king of jazz vocalists and the queen of provocative art-pop have teamed up for a duets album, performing a set of standards by icons like Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Duke Ellington. It's not the stretch you might think. As her fans know, Gaga has chops. She's a piano whiz and a vocal acrobat, as she demonstrates by hitting those high notes on "Nature Boy" (dig the flute solo). And Bennett is Bennett: cool as ice and twice as smooth. The tunes are classically arranged with strings, horns, and walking bass lines: there are no art-pop detours here, and it's refreshing to hear Gaga singing absent the conceptual pomp of her usual fare. It may be just another one of her arch personas, but it's one she does exceptionally well.

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About Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga

Tony Bennett cut his teeth singing in front of the toughest of audiences as a teenage army-band performer entertaining hardened troops stationed in Europe during World War II. Ever since, he’s carried the determination and gusto he learned back then through an epic career as America’s consummate crooner. During his initial star-making streak in the ’50s and ’60s, the New York City–born Bennett displayed both a pop singer’s flair for spotlight-seizing spectacle (listen to that soaring, curtain-closing vocal flourish on “(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco”) and a muso’s ear for jazzy improvisation (which blossomed on his supremely swinging albums with Count Basie). Bennett is always in crowd-pleasing mode—you can practically see his smile as he sashays through the big-band orchestration of “The Best Is Yet to Come.” But the natural grit in his voice can also imbue a ballad like Hank Williams’ “Cold, Cold Heart” with palpable melancholy and regret (the singer’s more artistic impulses have been channeled into a parallel career as a painter of impressionistic portraits and landscapes). Always faithful to the standards, Bennett’s staunch refusal to conform to trends has made him an unlikely hero to alternative rockers and modern pop firebrands alike, with latter-day duet partners like Elvis Costello and Lady Gaga lining up to bask in the eternal charisma that Bennett has always exuded so effortlessly.

HOMETOWN
New York, NY
GENRE
Jazz
BORN
August 3, 1926

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