Jacob’s Music Reviews: Duets II

Tony Bennett is one of the best singers of all time!  This 85-year-old New York native has won 15 Grammy Awards, two Emmys and a Kennedy Center Honoree.  Bennett has released 70 albums throughout his career and he is not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Bennett released his new album, Duets II, which is a follow-up to his 2006’s Duets-An American Classic that featured Bennett performing duets with legendary recording artists including Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder and Elton John.  Like his previous album,  Duets II features Tony Bennett collaborating with a smörgåsbord of singers including Lady GaGa, Josh Groban, Carrie Underwood, Willie Nelson and the late Amy Winehouse.

Here are some of the highlights of this new album:

“The Lady Is A Tramp” with Lady GaGa:

I was pleasantly surprised with this duet because I thought Lady GaGa would need to have techno dance music in the background in any song that she performs. I was severely mistaken!  This collaboration was fantastic from start to finish.  Bennett and his producers did a terrific job highlighting GaGa’s versatility and this performance shows that she is capable of doing more big band and jazz classics in the future.

Final Thoughts and Grade: A terrific song and I enjoyed this collaboration.  A-

“Body & Soul” with Amy Winehouse:

This duet is the first and sadly the last duet between Bennett and the late British songbird Amy Winehouse.   It would have been terrific to see them perform this duet together live.  Between Winehouse’s powerful vocals and Bennett’s connection to the lyrics,  this is truly a song worth downloading.

Final Thoughts and Grade:  This is truly a great moment on the album.  A

“Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” with Michael Bublé:

One of the best upbeat collaborations that Bennett has on this album is “a passing the torch” moment between the legendary singer and rising crooner Michael Bublé.  They both complement each other and I enjoy hearing them trade lyrics back and forth.   It is sad that today there is not a lot of standards on mainstream Top 40 radio because this would be an excellent song I would love to hear on the radio.

Final Thoughts and Grade: What a great song from start to finish.  A-

“How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” with Aretha Franklin

One of the things that Bennett and the Queen of Soul have in common is that they are both terrific duet partners.   I am very surprised that this is the very first collaboration between them.   Franklin opens the song and from the first time I heard her voice, I knew that the audience listening to this was in for a treat.  Both multiple Grammy-winning singers are tour de forces by themselves but together they took the song and delivered an incredible performance from start to finish.

Final Thoughts: This is truly a master’s class performance delivered by two musical icons!  A+

“It Had to Be You” with Carrie Underwood

Duets II demonstrates that artists can perform outside of their comfort zone to have a chance to duet with Tony Bennett.  One of the best examples out of this album is Bennett’s collaboration with Carrie Underwood.  There is no country-based music intertwined in this song and Underwood’s vocals go very well with the big band like background music.    I could actually like to see Underwood have a song like this on her upcoming album and I enjoyed listening to this duet.

Final Thoughts: A superb duet.  A

To find out more information about Duets II, see Tony Bennett’s website: http://tonybennett.com/

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