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Sings the Ultimate American Songbook, Vol. 1 (Remastered)

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Album Review

A different sort of Tony Bennett compilation than the usual, Sings the Ultimate American Songbook, Vol. 1 packages 15 performances, spanning five decades, that comprise, from Bennett's brief notes, "A revolution in popular music that will never be topped." (He's speaking, of course, about the American songbook and not his performing career.) While listeners won't find "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" or even "Cold, Cold Heart," the names of the composers — Porter, Kern, Gershwin, Mercer — are familiar, as are the song titles. Still, compiler Didier C. Deutsch chose some very obscure performances to illustrate Bennett's take on the Great American Songbook, including a ghostly "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" from 1958, "Ain't Misbehavin'" from 1964, and a 1971 version of "That Old Black Magic" with help from Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond (the first two make their wide CD debut here). Of course, there are plenty of familiar items as well, including "The Way You Look Tonight" (from the 1997 film My Best Friend's Wedding); two songs from his 1993 Sinatra tribute Perfectly Frank; and "Anything Goes," although this version comes from a 1962 live album. The happy result is a compilation that can be enjoyed equally by long-time devotees as well as first-time fans.

Customer Reviews

"They" are messing with with us, this is no "Ultimate"

Tony Bennet has recorded so much fantastic music it is unreal, why, oh, why did anyone put these less than Tony Bennett's very best on this album and name it "Ultimate?" Change the name to "Less than Tony Bennett's Ultimate," please.

4 Stars for "The Way You Look Tonight"

I like the song which is romantic.

Great album

I have 20 or more TB albums but this is superb. The span of fifteen years adds such enjoyment, hearing the changes in phrasing, inflection, it is beautiful. The song selection, and particularly the new/different arrangments on songs he has done before are first class. Can't say enough good things. This is a must have for Tony Bennett fans.


Born: August 3, 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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