Back in the early part of the century, Tony Bennett recorded a couple of albums of duets with a long and varied list of vocalists – a list that ranged from k.d. laing and Tim McGraw to Barbara Streisand, Paul McCartney, the Dixie Chicks and more.
Truth in advertising: Tony Bennett has never been my favorite “jazz” vocalist. In fact, I am hard put to throw him into the jazz vocalist category at all – not as hard put as I am when it comes to Willie Nelson, but still…
I’ve been taken by a couple of cuts from his two albums of duets, however, especially those with artists like Diana Krall who has long since paid her dues as a fine jazz pianist and vocalist.
One of Bennett’s duet albums is Playin’ With My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues, about which writer William Ruhlmann has this to say in part on the AllMusic site:
“Not surprisingly, the singer’s conception of the blues does not extend to the Mississippi Delta or the South Side of Chicago; rather, he is interested in the blues as filtered through the sound of the Swing Era, particularly from around Kansas City, and as interpreted by Tin Pan Alley and show tunes. For the former, his true mentor is Count Basie.”
Basie’s influence is particularly notable on this tune which was a favorite of Basie’s singer, Joe Williams, who definitely was a jazz vocalist, as is Krall. The tune, “Well, Alright, Okay, You Win” was recorded by others, too, like Ella and Peggy Lee, but this one by the Bennett/Krall team strikes me as wonderfully playful and – yep, yep, yep, downright jazzy.
Enjoy JazzBabies…and be happy losers if it happens to you…