Few singers have thrived at the intersection between jazz and pop, between Birdland and Tin Pan Alley, the way that Tony Bennett has. Frank Sinatra famously ranked him high among the small group of great saloon singers, and although Ol' Blue Eyes should know, what Bennett has always been is a jazz singer who imbues even the tritest pop material with an unequivocal jazz feeling. At 89, and after cutting some commercially successful albums of duets and a collaboration with current pop star and personal friend, Lady Gaga, Bennett has just released a new album that brings to mind former LPs of his such as The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album or his work with Ralph Sharon on, for instance, Tony Sings for Two. Entitled The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern (Columbia, 2015), this new CD finds Bennett in fine voice and still tirelessly championing the music from the Great American Songbook, in this case the works of Jerome Kern. In his well-written liner notes, critic Will Friedwald eloquently describes Kern as a transition figure in the world of musical theater, "a direct connection between Brahms and Charlie Parker." Similarly, Bennett is a direct link between jazz and pop, and so a collection of Kern's timeless songs—which seems to have been his idea—is definitely right up the vocalist's alley.
a fourteen-minute interview with Garner and his trio taped right after the concert. In his new liner notes, Morgenstern observes that "Garner conceived of the keyboard as a combination of a band's horn and rhythm sections, rolled into a single voice. And his uncanny sense of time, his marvelous touch, and wide-open ears made that conception come alive."
"Night and Day," it seems clear that there is a special rapport between Garner and the rest of the rhythm section, and the audience is always appreciative of the band's efforts. Whether it is an uptempo number like "It's All Right with Me," a semiclassical treatment of a ballad such as "Spring Is Here," or a Latin-flavored tune "Mambo Carmel," Garner always feels at ease to experiment with the melodies, the harmonies, and the tempi, and throughout the concert there is a sense of excitement that is simply infectious. His readings of standard ballads such as "Autumn Leaves" and "Laura" are as lush and emotive as the uptempo numbers like "Red Top" and "Caravan" are surprising and exciting, showing what a master Garner was at the keyboard. This is a milestone jazz concert whose complete reissue was long overdue—too long, as a matter of fact—and it would be great news if it marked the beginning of a series of necessary Garner reissues.
here). Lundgren has devoted several CDs to honoring the work of lesser-known composers from the Great American Songbook, whose compositions he reinvents from his own jazzy perspective, as in the case of Dennis's "Angel Eyes" and "Spring Isn't Spring Anymore." Retreating into the early stages of his recording career, this compilation also includes a track from his 1996 album, California Connection, a trio reading of Barney Kessel's "Swedish Pastry" with bassist Dave Carpenter and drummer Paul Kreibich.