The notoriously introspective piano man Bill Evans had rarely fraternized with singers when he decided to join Tony Bennett for 1975’s “The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album.” The pairing proved so groovy that a year later, the duo recorded a second, similarly stunning set called “Together Again.” Now collected in one package, along with a whopping 22 alternate takes, the remastered Bennett/Evans sessions sound more essential than ever before.
On numbers like “You’re Nearer,” “Young and Foolish,” and “You Must Believe in Spring,” Bennett proves he’s a master at melodic and lyrical subtleties. Without resorting to flamboyant drama, he brings gusts of emotion to “Who Can I Turn To?” and “The Days of Wine and Roses.”
A highlight is Bennett and Evans’ gorgeous reading of the Leonard Bernstein/Comden & Green chestnut “Some Other Time.” Bennett helped turn the tune into a standard and it’s easy to see why. He captures the song’s layers of hope, sadness, and regret.
Perhaps because Evans was best known for ballads, the collection is heavy on slow numbers. A few more upbeat ditties would have given Bennett the chance to swing and sway. But that’s a small complaint. This CD ($13.98), which comes with excellent liner notes by Will Friedwald, is a genuine classic that rightly tops Bennett’s list of his own favorite albums.
Label: Fantasy (Concord Music Group)
Official Site: http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/The-Complete-Tony-BennettBill-Evans-Recordings/
[Amy Longsdorf’s entertainment coverage has appeared in “Blender,” “People,” the “Chicago Tribune,” the “Toronto Star,” and “Newsday.” She doesn’t want to imagine a world without Preston Sturges movies, Stax singles, and the music of Bob Marley.]