Sep 28, 2011
With 85 year old Tony Bennett improbably on the pop charts again with his Duets II CD, it seems appropriate to remember a different kind of duet he recorded 35 years ago today. Bennett had gone into the studios of Fantasy Records in Berkley, CA to record with pianist Bill Evans in June 1975, and the resulting album, appropriately enough entiteld The Tony Bennett-Bill Evans Album, showcased Bennett's understated approach to singing with Evans' impressionistic style of piano. Rarely did Evans "accompany" Bennett - these were true duets by two top musicians.
It seems only natural that the pair would reunite for a followup album. From September 27-30, 1976, Together Again may not have had the high points of their first collaboration, but it was none the less a sterling recording with strong playing by Evans. Click here to listen to Bennett's soulful take on a tune Evans co-wrote with Carol Hall, "The Two Lonely People".
The two never got to record again, as Evans, a long-time drug abuser, died four years later, on September 15, 1980. n New York City of a bleeding ulcer, cirrhosis of the liver, and bronchial pneumonia. Their two albums, along with unreleased and alternate takes, were reissued in 2009 by a reconstituted Fantasy Records as The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings.