Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Complete Tony Bennett - Bill Evans Recordings

Alle Tony Bennett en Bill Evans opnamen ( Nederlands) The Complete Tony Bennett - Bill Evans Recordings ( English)

All Tony Bennett - Bill Evans recordings

The Tony Bennett-Bill Evans Album and Together Again
Hans Koert

The Complete Tony Bennett - Bill Evans Recordings have been reissued recently as a double album on the Fantasy label ( FAN-31281). Today I love to put these sessions in the spotlight.
Tony Bennett, vocalist, labels himself as an entertainer. He was born as Anthony Dominick Benedetto in Queens, New York City August 1926. He is one of the greatest crooners from the XXth Century, on a same level as legends like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. His almost 60 years career in music has brought us a lot of great recordings, which were honoured with a dozen of Grammy Awards.

The fact that this crooner, singer, interpreter of the American Song Book, got a place in this blog, is because he made some great recordings with jazz musicians too. Like the ones I have in front of me: The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album from 1975 and, because of its successes, a year later the album Together Again (1976). The first album was released on Fantasy and the latter on Improvisation. Tony Bennett, although not a jazz vocalist himself, recorded with dozens of jazz musicians, with orchestras ( like Count Basie's), but also with single piano players like Bill Evans and Ralph Sharon. He recorded two albums with the latter: The 1959 Tony Sings for Two and When Light Are Low from 1964. The June 1975 Tony Bennett sessions are different, because during this session, Tony was accompanied by the great piano player Bill Evans. Well, no, let’s make it clear – Tony Bennett and Bill Evans made this record as two equal partners – not the crooner with piano accompaniment.
Bill Evans, the introvert piano player, became famous because of his great trio albums like Waltz for Debby or his (short) cooperation with Miles Davis, with tunes like Blue in Green; an own composition in the famous Miles Davis classic -Kind of Blue album. Bill Evans was born in Plainfield NJ August 1929 and passed away September 1980.

They first met at a private party at the White House, organized by John F. Kennedy in 1962.
When this session was scheduled, they planned to make a vocal album with two piano players: Bill Evans and John Bunch, but the latter skipped the appointment because he felt, that Bill was not in his league. The June 1975 sessions, which filled the first record, were the best of the two. They were recorded without any preparations or rehearsals. They agreed about the selections and recorded it. I heard these songs for the very first time in a reissue made by Jazz Collectors, released last year, titled Tony Bennett and Bill Evans – The Legendary Sessions. ( JC 426). Well, as regular visitors of my blog should know, I’m not a fan of vocalists, because I believe that singers often make their presence very much felt. I liked these sessions because of Bill Evans piano playing. This reissue contained two previous unreleased recordings: Who Can I Turn To and Dream Dancing and especially the first tune became one of Tony Bennett hits when he recorded in the mid 1960s. Listen to a ragment of this tune by Tony Bennett ( with another piano player and orchestra):

For the fans of the music of Tony Bennett and Bill Evans it was great to learn that unreleased songs, recorded during this session, had survived. The new reissue, I love to put into the spotlight today, has more surprises: twenty previous unreleased alternative takes.
Nowadays it seems to become a trend to reissue “The Complete ………. Sessions “ by the officially record companies, with crumbs that kept on the shelves untouched and unhearded; treasures for those who want to hear it all.

For the true connoisseurs this The Complete Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Recordings is a must – for the average jazz fan – the ones, who like to listen to Tony Bennett's singing in an informal setting, the other reissue will do well too.
Find the complete track list below this blog.

Hans Koert -


CD 1
1. Young And Foolish 3:54 A
2. The Touch Of Your Lips 3:56 A
3. Some Other Time 4:42 A
4. When In Rome 2:55 A
5. We'll Be Together Again 4:38 A
6. My Foolish Heart 4:51 A
7. Waltz For Debby 4:04A
8. But Beautiful 3:36 A
9. Days Of Wine And Roses 2:23 A
10. The Bad And The Beautiful 2:18 B
11. Lucky To Be Me 3:45 B
12. Make Someone Happy 3:52 B
13. You're Nearer 2:22 B
14. A Child Is Born 3:16 B
15. The Two Lonely People 4:27 B
16. You Don't Know What Love Is 3:27 B
17. Maybe September 3:55 B
18. Lonely Girl 2:49 B
19. You Must Believe In Spring 5:51 B
20. Who Can I Turn To? 2:28 BB
21. Dream Dancing 3:46 B

Disc 2

1. Young And Foolish (Take 4) 4:45 A
2. The Touch Of Your Lips (Take 1) 2:54 A
3. Some Other Time (Take 7) 4:56 A
4. When In Rome (Take 11) 2:57 A
5. Waltz For Debby (Take 8) 3:50 A
6. The Bad And The Beautiful (Alternate Take 1) 2:13 B
7. The Bad And The Beautiful (Alternate Take 2) 2:09 B
8. Make Someone Happy (Alternate Take 5) 3:54 B
9. You're Nearer (Alternate Take 9) 2:58 B
10. A Child Is Born (Alternate Take 2) 3:26 B
11. A Child Is Born (Alternate Take 7) 3:12 B
12. The Two Lonely People (Alternate Take 5) 4:43 B
13. You Don't Know What Love Is (Alternate Take 16) 3:33 B
14. You Don't Know What Love Is (Alternate Take 18) 3:37 B
15. Maybe September (Alternate Take 5) 4:37 B
16. Maybe September (Alternate Take 8) 4:31 B
17. Lonely Girl (Alternate Take 1) 2:57 B
18. You Must Believe In Spring (Alternate Take 1) 6:01 B
19. You Must Believe In Spring (Alternate Take 4) 5:36 B
20. Who Can I Turn To (Alternate Take 6) 2:29 B

A = The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans album ( 10-13th of June, 1975 )
B = Together Again ( 27-30 September, 1976 )

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Anonymous Cliff E. said...

Oddly enough I was just listening to their first album for the first time last night. I really didn't like it, not really enough variety and everything seemed a bit over the top emotion wise, IMHO of course.

Cliff E. (Dublin)
(Organissimo Jaz Forum)

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Alexander said...

Wow. My reaction couldn't possibly have been more different. I LOVE that album. My favorite cut is "When In Rome."

Alexander (Albamy )(US)
(Fortissimo Jazz forum)

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Cliff E. said...

"in all, the Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings is a highly worthwhile set for fans of the Bennett-Evans collaboration—even if you've never cared for the original recordings or you already own them. It's an important entry because it fully documents what has been up until now a highly puzzling session. What's more, you finally get to hear the alternate takes. They demonstrate just how good this pairing could have been with the right producer in the booth. To paraphrase Evans, it's on these tracks where truth met beauty."

Which makes me think I should check this out again but on the other hand, it must be rare/weird for a session's alternate takes to get a better reveiw than what was released.

Cliff E. (Dublin)
(orgnissimo Jazz Forum)

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love both of the Bennett & Evans albums. The "Complete" collection is not well mastered, however. It's a little too compressed, and CD 2 - with the alternative takes - has a particularly harsh digital, jittery sound (very harsh "SSS" sound). If you want to hear the first album as intended, with all the raw emotion, get the XRCD issue. It's perfect.

9:34 AM  

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