Fifty Years: The Artistry Of Tony Bennett [Box]
Performer: Tony Bennett
Artist: B.B. King; Ray Charles; Diana Krall; K.D. Lang; Ralph Sharon; Frank Sinatra
Producer: Mitch Miller; Ernie Altschuler; Allen Stanton; Howard A. Roberts; Phil Ramone; Didier C. Deutsch (Compilation); Mark Wilder (Compilation)...
Distributor: Sony Music Distribution (
Notes: Personnel: Tony Bennett (vocals); Diana Krall, Frank Sinatra, k.d. lang, Kermit the Frog, B.B. King (vocals); George Van Eps (guitar); Corky Hale (harp); Bobby Hackett (ukulele, cornet); Joe Soldo (flute); Joe Marsala (clarinet); Al Cohn, Zoot Sims (tenor saxophone); Jimmy Rowles, Tommy Flanagan (piano); Dick Hyman (organ); Art Blakey (drums); Ralph Sharon (piano); Count Basie & His Orchestra, Ralph Sharon Trio, The Ray Charles Singers. Liner Note Authors: Tony Bennett; Anthony DeCurtis. Arrangers: Ralph Sharon; Dick Hyman; Al Cohn; Marty Manning; Percy Faith; Chuck Wayne; Neal Hefti; Don Costa; Torrie Zito; Frank DeVol; Johnny Mandel; Johnny Keating; Robert Farnon ; Jorge Calandrelli; Peter Matz. When the first version of this impressive box set was originally released in 1991 (as Forty Years: The Artistry of Tony Bennett), it put the capstone upon Tony Bennett's remarkable return to prominence by looking back at a legacy that had been overshadowed by that of the colossus Sinatra. The collection methodically traced his career from his first Columbia record, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," in 1950, through the hit singles and key or capriciously selected album tracks up until 1972. Then, after borrowing three tracks from Fantasy's 1975 Tony Bennett/Bill Evans project (including an exquisite "Some Other Time" with a "Peace Piece" introduction from Evans), the box leapt ahead 11 years to contemplate Bennett's unlikely resurrection as an icon of the cynical young. From there, Fifty Years departs from its predecessor by adding a fifth disc which, at 23 tracks, boosts the total from 87 to 110 tracks. Bennett's unlikely popular success during the '90s and 2000s is surveyed with a parade of Grammy winners, including selections from 1993's Perfectly Frank, 1994's Steppin' Out and MTV Unplugged, 1999's Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot and Cool, and 2002's A Wonderful World (among others). Bennett's early records are almost operatic in feeling, a honey-smooth Italian tenor building toward histrionic climaxes, but the voice eventually busts loose into an outgoing, life-celebrating baritone, and, by the 1980s, reemerges as a darker, softer, even somewhat raspy replica of itself. There isn't much for the jazz listener here other than an occasional session with Count Basie (dig their ebullient "Lullaby of Broadway" together), a few cameos by jazz names, the Evans tracks, or some upbeat charts by Ralph Sharon, Ralph Burns, and a few others. Ultimately, the most striking difference between Bennett's records and Sinatra's is the sheer, unbeatably high quality of arrangements that Sinatra was able to get. Yet despite the abundance of period MOR treacle, many of these records are more interesting than memory recalls; for example, it's difficult to resist such a na�vely joyous track as Frank DeVol's rendering of "Put on a Happy Face" that has the Mitch Miller era written all over it. There is no better Tony Bennett retrospective at any price, although jazz specialists might be better served by the Jazz compilation. ~ Richard S. Ginell
One of the finest voices of 20th century American pop, Tony Bennett began his career in the '50s, under the watchful eye of producer Mitch Miller, recording huge hits such as "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," and "Because of You." In 1958, his album BASIE SWINGS-BENNETT SINGS was a precursor to later jazz-based work. That same year, "Firefly" was Bennett's last US Top 40 entry until 1962, when he made a major comeback with the Grammy-winning "I Left My Heart In San Francisco." In '93 and '94 he was awarded Grammys for his albums PERFECTLY FRANK and STEPPIN' OUT.
Also Appears On:
Carter, Betty Clooney, Rosemary Connick, Harry, Jr. Damone, Vic Davis, Sammy, Jr. Eder, Linda Evans, Bill (Piano) Feinstein, Michael Fitzgerald, Ella Garland, Judy Gorme, Eydie Goulet, Robert Hartman, Johnny Holiday, Billie Humperdinck, Engelbert (Vocal) Jones, Etta Jones, Jack Jones, Tom Kitt, Eartha Laine, Frankie Lawrence, Steve Lee, Peggy (Vocals) Martin, Dean Mathis, Johnny McFerrin, Bobby Minnelli, Liza Newley, Anthony Patinkin, Mandy Randall, Frankie Schuur, Diane Scott, Jimmy Sharon, Ralph Sinatra, Frank Streisand, Barbra Torme, Mel Vaughan, Sarah Washington, Dinah Williams, Andy
Armstrong, Louis Cornell, Don Crosby, Bing Eckstine, Billy Fitzgerald, Ella Getz, Stan (Sax) Gillespie, Dizzy Hartman, Johnny Holiday, Billie Mercer, Mabel Mooney, Joe Parker, Charlie (Sax) Sinatra, Frank Tatum, Art Vaughan, Sarah Williams, Joe (Vocals)