Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues

Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues

by Tony Bennett
     
 

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The blues is not the first genre that you’d associate with singer Tony Bennett. But this stalwart exemplar of American pop vocalizing has an uncanny ability to adjust to virtually any kind of mainstream material, and he does so with aplomb on this surprisingly winning project. Not only a journey into unexplored territory, Playin' with My Friends is also aSee more details below

Overview

The blues is not the first genre that you’d associate with singer Tony Bennett. But this stalwart exemplar of American pop vocalizing has an uncanny ability to adjust to virtually any kind of mainstream material, and he does so with aplomb on this surprisingly winning project. Not only a journey into unexplored territory, Playin' with My Friends is also a duets album, and big names have come out for it -- including B. B. King, Diana Krall, Stevie Wonder, k. d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Joel, and Sheryl Crow, all of whom sound like they’re having quite a time singing with the main man. The material isn’t strictly blues per se, although such classics as “Everyday I Have the Blues,” and “Well Alright, OK You Win,” and “Let the Good Times Roll” receive rousing treatments. Ballads like “Stormy Weather,” “Good Morning Heartache,” “Blues in the Night,” and “New York State of Mind” also allow Bennett to graze in more familiar terrain.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Tony Bennett's latter-day albums tend to have themes, and this one has two, as indicated by its double-barreled title: It is both a duets album and a blues album. The duet partners include ten singers who range from his recent touring partners Diana Krall and k.d. lang to fellow veterans Ray Charles, B.B. King, and Kay Starr, and younger, but still mature pop stars Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, and Billy Joel. All sound happy to be sharing a mic with Bennett. 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, whose overt influence is heard on six of the 15 tracks. Bennett makes no attempt to hide this, leading off the album with two songs, "Alright, Okay, You Win" (a duet with Krall) and "Everyday (I Have the Blues)" (a duet with Wonder), closely associated with Basie singer Joe Williams. The Broadway and Hollywood blues style is introduced in three selections written by Harold Arlen. On about half the tracks, the Ralph Sharon Quartet is augmented by Harry Allen's saxophone and Mike Melvoin's Hammond organ, but this remains a small, intimate affair that emphasizes the singers. There are missteps -- Sheryl Crow's Billie Holiday impersonation on "Good Morning, Heartache" is unfortunate, and Natalie Cole, as usual, sounds out of her depth on "Stormy Weather." But the trade-offs Bennett enjoys with King and Charles are priceless, and the Joel duet is surprisingly effective. On the whole, this is yet another entry in Bennett's lengthening series of autumnal recorded triumphs.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/06/2001
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998583320
catalogNumber:
85833

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Alright, Okay, You Win  - Diana Krall
  2. Everyday (I Have the Blues)  - Stevie Wonder
  3. Don't Cry Baby  - Tony Bennett
  4. Good Morning Heartache  - Sheryl Crow
  5. Let the Good Times Roll  - B.B. King
  6. Evenin'  - Tony Bennett
  7. I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues  - Tony Bennett
  8. Keep the Faith, Baby  - k.d. lang
  9. Old Count Basie Is Gone (Old Piney Brown Is Gone)  - Tony Bennett
  10. Blue and Sentimental  - Tony Bennett
  11. New York State of Mind  - Tony Bennett
  12. Undecided Blues  - Tony Bennett
  13. Blues in the Night  - Tony Bennett
  14. Stormy Weather  - Tony Bennett
  15. Playin' With My Friends  - Tony Bennett

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tony Bennett   Primary Artist
Kay Starr   Track Performer
Ray Charles   Track Performer
Natalie Cole   Track Performer
Billy Joel   Track Performer
Bonnie Raitt   Track Performer
Ralph Sharon   Piano
Sheryl Crow   Track Performer
Harry Allen   Saxophone
Clayton Cameron   Drums
B.B. King   Track Performer
k.d. lang   Track Performer
Paul Langosch   Bass,Bass Guitar
Mike Melvoin   Hammond Organ
Gray Sargent   Guitar
Stevie Wonder   Track Performer
Diana Krall   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Count Basie   Composer
Jimmy Rushing   Composer
Danny Bennett   Executive Producer
Ervin Drake   Composer
James Duncan   Engineer
Ted Jensen   Mastering
Jerry Livingston   Composer
Rob Mathes   Vocal Arrangements
Joel Moss   Engineer
Charles Paakkari   Engineer
Phil Ramone   Producer
Tom Young   Engineer,Monitor Engineer
Arnold Levine   Art Direction
Darcy Proper   Mastering
Josh Cheuse   Art Direction
Steve Genewick   Engineer
Dan Fisher   Composer
Irene Higginbotham   Composer
Fleecie Moore   Composer
Mack David   Composer
Sam Theard   Composer
Claudius Mittendorfer   Engineer
Woody Pornpitaksuk   Authoring

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