Bennett/Berlin

by: Tony Bennett

With his warmth and upbeat attitude, Tony Bennett makes an excellent interpreter of Irving Berlin, whose songs share exactly those qualities. This was Bennett's second newly recorded album in his return to recording and to Columbia Records, and it's a classy collection, with Bennett breathing life into songs like "Isn't This a Lovely Day" and "Cheek to Cheek." He stuck to the backing of his regular piano-bass-drums trio, led by Ralph Sharon, with extra colors provided by guests Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie, and George Benson. The result is an understated, informal session that brings out the best in the already impressive material. The only real criticism of the album is that it's so short -- just over 30 minutes -- which, in the emerging CD era, seems pretty skimpy. ~ William Ruhlmann

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