18 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As a singer, one might cynically argue, Fred Astaire was a terrific dancer. Yet, like fellow hoofer Gene Kelly, Astaire had a way of personalizing his vocal performances in ways that often soared above his thin vocal gifts. Combine that innate gift with pipes as strong, burnished and studiously exercised as Tony Bennett's on a slate of songs that span the dancer's halcyon days at RKO and MGM, and musical alchemy of the highest order results. Given the stellar songwriters involved (Porter, Berlin, Kern, the Gershwins), the collection also serves double-duty as Bennett's de facto American songbook album, a decade before such conceits became but cynical marketing shtick. Indeed, Bennett's rich career was already undergoing a significant resurgence (thanks largely to the diligent guidance of son/manager Danny) when this 1993 album was released on the heels of the singer's equally accomplished Sinatra tribute, Perfectly Frank. It would go on to become a significant commercial success as well, netting Bennett another deserved Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As a singer, one might cynically argue, Fred Astaire was a terrific dancer. Yet, like fellow hoofer Gene Kelly, Astaire had a way of personalizing his vocal performances in ways that often soared above his thin vocal gifts. Combine that innate gift with pipes as strong, burnished and studiously exercised as Tony Bennett's on a slate of songs that span the dancer's halcyon days at RKO and MGM, and musical alchemy of the highest order results. Given the stellar songwriters involved (Porter, Berlin, Kern, the Gershwins), the collection also serves double-duty as Bennett's de facto American songbook album, a decade before such conceits became but cynical marketing shtick. Indeed, Bennett's rich career was already undergoing a significant resurgence (thanks largely to the diligent guidance of son/manager Danny) when this 1993 album was released on the heels of the singer's equally accomplished Sinatra tribute, Perfectly Frank. It would go on to become a significant commercial success as well, netting Bennett another deserved Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal.

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