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Wonderful World
     

A Wonderful World

by k.d. lang, Tony Bennett
 

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The majestic resurgence of Tony Bennett’s career in the past 15 years has been marked by a series of shrewdly conceived concept recordings. A Wonderful World joins this illustrious group. Not only does it concentrate exclusively on songs that were made famous by Louis Armstrong, it also brings Bennett together with another major singer: k. d. lang.

Overview

The majestic resurgence of Tony Bennett’s career in the past 15 years has been marked by a series of shrewdly conceived concept recordings. A Wonderful World joins this illustrious group. Not only does it concentrate exclusively on songs that were made famous by Louis Armstrong, it also brings Bennett together with another major singer: k. d. lang. Bennett and lang had recorded together on Bennett’s MTV Unplugged and his 2001 release Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues. It turns out that their easygoing duets were mere previews for this ambitious and brilliantly executed project. Although both Bennett and lang have their own moments to shine, the majority of World finds them singing together, and the combination couldn’t be improved upon. Individual vocal excellence is matched by mutual respect, and the combination is deliciously winning. Neither singer tries to evoke Armstrong or his uniquely individual approach to a song; yet Bennett and lang’s love for “Pops” is somehow communicated in every breath. Although it sneaks in at the tail end of the year, A Wonderful World is one of the highlight recordings of 2002.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Tony Bennett has sung with k.d. lang previously, notably on his MTV Unplugged album, and the two have meshed well together, largely because of lang's willingness to sublimate herself to Bennett's approach. The same thing can be said of the two on this full-length duet album (which also contains solos -- Bennett is heard alone on "That's My Dream," lang on "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" and "That Lucky Old Sun [Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day]"). It isn't just that lang joins in on material more suitable to Bennett's style than to hers. This is an album on which the musicians are the members of Bennett's backup group (plus strings), recorded in Bennett's studio. But one never gets the sense that lang is restricted by the approach. She is sufficiently versatile, or chameleon-like, to sound like she's enjoying herself, just as she did earlier in her career when she was working with producer Owen Bradley in Nashville and singing traditional country. At 76, Bennett sings with an easy, casual style, never seeming to work very hard for his effects, and lang, in her vocal prime, deliberately complements him, though she never seems quite as comfortable. Although there is no indication other than an uncredited painting (by Bennett, of course) inside the CD booklet, this is a tribute album to Louis Armstrong, who recorded these songs over the course of his long career. That doesn't mean that there's a trumpet to be heard anywhere on the disc or that either of the singers tries to re-create any aspect of Armstrong's vocal style. It simply provides an organizing principle that the listener can notice or not. (Well, it's hard not to notice during the title song, with Bennett's references to "Satchmo" and "Pops.") Like Armstrong, Bennett and lang are trying to make the music sound effortless and unstudied, and to a large extent they succeed.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/05/2002
Label:
Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC:
0886979167827
catalogNumber:
791678
Rank:
7019

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

k.d. lang   Primary Artist
Tony Bennett   Primary Artist
Scott Hamilton   Tenor Saxophone
Peter Matz   Conductor
Clayton Cameron   Drums
Paul Langosch   Bass
Lee Musiker   Piano,Musical Direction
Gray Sargent   Guitar

Technical Credits

Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Peter Matz   Orchestration
Dae Bennett   Engineer
Danny Bennett   Executive Producer,Management
T Bone Burnett   Producer
Dorothy Fields   Composer
Haven Gillespie   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
Rob Mathes   Vocal Arrangements
F.E. Miller   Composer
Lee Musiker   Arranger
J. Neiburg   Composer
B. Smith   Composer
George David Weiss   Composer
Tom Young   Engineer
J.P. Johnson   Composer
Josh Cheuse   Art Direction
Mike Piersante   Engineer
Martin Kirkup   Management
Brian Dozoretz   Engineer
Horace Gerlach   Composer
Guglielmi Luis Guglielmo   Composer
R. Leveen   Composer
W. Schwandt   Composer
R. Thiele   Composer
H. Ruby   Composer
C. Gant   Composer
M. David   Composer
C. Carpenter   Composer
E. Hines   Composer
L. Armstrong   Composer
Édith Giovanna Gassion   Composer
Steven Jensen   Management
Otis T. Rene   Composer
M. Carl Dunlap   Composer
B. Kalmer   Composer
D. Dougherty   Composer
E. Reynolds   Composer

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