12 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The title of Tony Bennett’s 1959 release In Person! is somewhat misleading; this is a studio re-creation of a live set that didn't make it to tape properly. It hardly matters, though, because Bennett and collaborator Count Basie turn in superlative performances that lack nothing in vibrancy or onstage magic. By turns melancholy, reflective, and celebratory, Bennett reaffirms his rare ability to claim even familiar songs as his own, whether offering a delicately poetic lyric (“Lost in the Stars,” “When I Fall in Love”) or joyously swinging his way over exuberant horns (“Old Man River,” “Taking a Chance on Love”). “Pennies from Heaven” is a particularly choice number, filled with nuanced emotion and smile-inducing dynamics. Basie leads the players with a confident but not overbearing hand, giving longtime Bennett accompanist Ralph Sharon room to add tasty piano accents against an insistent, cleanly rendered beat. The result is elegant yet always vigorous, filled with inspired sidelights like the jazzy dabs in “Lullaby of Broadway” and the raspy vocal embellishments in “Firefly.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

The title of Tony Bennett’s 1959 release In Person! is somewhat misleading; this is a studio re-creation of a live set that didn't make it to tape properly. It hardly matters, though, because Bennett and collaborator Count Basie turn in superlative performances that lack nothing in vibrancy or onstage magic. By turns melancholy, reflective, and celebratory, Bennett reaffirms his rare ability to claim even familiar songs as his own, whether offering a delicately poetic lyric (“Lost in the Stars,” “When I Fall in Love”) or joyously swinging his way over exuberant horns (“Old Man River,” “Taking a Chance on Love”). “Pennies from Heaven” is a particularly choice number, filled with nuanced emotion and smile-inducing dynamics. Basie leads the players with a confident but not overbearing hand, giving longtime Bennett accompanist Ralph Sharon room to add tasty piano accents against an insistent, cleanly rendered beat. The result is elegant yet always vigorous, filled with inspired sidelights like the jazzy dabs in “Lullaby of Broadway” and the raspy vocal embellishments in “Firefly.”

TITLE TIME
1:42
2:17
1:54
3:05
1:28
3:33
2:31
3:59
1:38
3:14
3:12
5:01

About Tony Bennett

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.

  • ORIGIN
    New York, NY
  • GENRE
    Jazz
  • BORN
    August 3, 1926

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