Tony Bennett – ‘Duets II’: A Review

September 28, 2011

Tony Bennett - Duets IIHow things can change in the five years since ‘Duets: An American Classic’. The most obvious difference on Tony Bennett’s new release ‘Duets II’  is the duet with Lady GaGa, the coy ‘The Lady is a Tramp”. This is a fun song and a splash this should make. Of course, five years ago Lady Gaga was not even heard of. There is also the startling and beautiful duet with the late Amy Winehouse, “Body and Soul”. This is a wonderful tribute to her memory. “One For My Baby” with John Mayer is fun also, with a cocktail party atmosphere.

“Yesterday I Heard the Rain”with Alejandro Sanz is a mellow piano jazz song with more mellow sounds, and very good ones. “Who Can I Turn to” with Queen Latifah sounds pretty good as well on a mellow song which is surprisingly good. “When do the Bells Ring for Me”  has Mariah Carey as the featured vocalist. Here is another romantic gem and another fine performance. “Watch What Happens” with Natalie Cole has a Jazz Swing style, and is one of the funkier songs. “This is All I Ask” featuring Josh Groban carries on in the mellow theme big time. This could be one of the dark horses on here. Joining Tony on one of his biggies “Stranger in Paradise” is Andrea Bocelli, and its done mellow and smooth. “Speak Low”, featuring Norah Jones, is a steamy -jazz-swing-love song, and quite dreamy. One of my favorites. “On the Sunny Side of the Street” with Willie Nelson is a standard and a crowd pleasing choice. “It Had to be You” finds Carrie Underwood joining Tony, and it’s done in smoldering fire form.

“How do You Keep the Music Playing” features none other than the “Queen of Soul” — Aretha Franklin. It seems quite interesting the romance continues mega mellow on this one. It is so different, this is spectacular. “The Girl I Love” is another sultry duet, this one with Sheryl Crow. There are a lion’s share of romantic smokers for the most part. It’s very good in the process as well. “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”  along with Michael Buble is a good song, but not a best in show. “Blue Velvet” with K D Lang is a smooth as velvet version of this classic. They have done two other duets together. “The Way You Look Tonight” has Faith Hill mellow and romantic and really nice. An easy jazz swing beat is really obvious on the second half. Another of the best on this four and a half star release.

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