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Tony Bennett's 'The Ultimate American Songbook Vol 1.' And Christmas Album Reissue

September 13th, 2007 8:00pm EDT
Tony BennettThe Ultimate American Songbook Vol. 1 is a dream project for Tony Bennett, who personally chose the 15-song program from his Columbia repertoire. Literally hundreds of singers have recorded versions of these songs over the years, but Tony Bennett is in the rare class of artists who actually took part in many of the original presentations. The songs on this definitive collection of popular standards cover three distinct decades of recording by Tony Bennett on Columbia:

The 1950s: 1958's "Ev'ry Time We Say Good­bye" originally from the 1944 Cole Porter Broadway musical, Seven Lively Arts; and 1959's "Taking A Chance On Love" from the 1940 Vernon Duke Broadway musical, Cabin In The Sky.

The 1960s: 1962's Live At Carnegie Hall version of the 1934 Cole Porter gem, "Anything Goes"; 1962's "You'll Never Get Away From Me" from Stephen Sondheim's 1959 Broadway musical, Gypsy; then a pair from Tony's 1964 album When Lights Are LowFats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'" which dates to 1929, and the Gus Kahn/Isham Jones chestnut, "It Had To Be You" from the 1932 RKO film, Show Business; the 1966 recording of Ray Noble's "The Very Thought Of You" from 1934; 1967's "They Can't Take That Away From Me" which dates back to the 1937 Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers RKO film, Shall We Dance; and an undated '60s session with the Dave Brubeck Quartet on Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer's "That Old Black Magic," from the 1942 Paramount film, Star Spangled Rhythm.

The 1990s: Three tracks from 1992's Sinatra tribute Perfectly Frank, which brought Tony his first Grammy Award in 30 years, starting with the Gershwins' "A Foggy Day" from the 1937 RKO film, A Damsel In Distress, and 1938's "I'll Be Seeing You" and "You Go To My Head," all three of which are associated with the Columbia recordings of Billie Holiday, the primal vocal influence on Sinatra and Bennett; 1997's "She's Funny That Way" from the tribute album to Billie, Tony Bennett on vacation; and from that same year, Tony's contribution to the My Best Friend's Wedding movie soundtrack album, Jerome Kern's "The Way You Look Tonight," yet another song associated with Billie; and from 1994's RIAA platinum two-time Grammy Award-winning MTV Unplugged comes the duet with k.d. lang on "Moonglow," the sixth song in this series associated with Billie Holiday.

Tony BennettLast year at this time, a gala worldwide commemoration began in recognition of Tony Bennett's 80th birthday (on August 3, 2006) and the 20th year anniversary since his return to Columbia Records in 1986. The year was capped with the release of Duets: An American Classic, which quickly topped the charts and became Bennett's best selling CD to date, earning platinum status within weeks of its release. Tony's NBC special, which aired last November, Tony Bennett: An American Classic, recently received eight Emmy nominations, including noms for Tony and his two sons, Danny and Dae, both of whom were involved with the production.

Earlier this year on February 11, 2007, at the 49th annual Grammy Awards, Tony Bennett's most recent studio album, Duets: An American Classic, generated awards for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), the latter two for his duet with Stevie Wonder on "For Once In My Life." Two days later, Netflix, Inc., in association with its Red Envelope Entertainment division, announced it had acquired worldwide rights to produce and distribute a new documentary exploring and celebrating the singer's life and career.

Titled Clint Eastwood Presents: Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends, the film is by produced by the Oscar winning director. Bruce Ricker (credits: The Last of the Blue Devils, Thelonious Monk Straight No Chaser, Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows), serves as the films director. The documentary project was brought to Netflix and Red Envelope by Danny Bennett, president of RPM Productions, on behalf of Tony Bennett and Clint Eastwood. The film was already in production at locations around the country, including Astoria, Queens in New York City, where Bennett was born, as well as Hollywood, California. It will have its broadcast premiere on PBS American Masters series on September 12th. It will be available for rental on Netflix and DVD purchase exclusively at Target on September 25th.

Tony BennettIn addition, a new book of Tony's artwork will be released by Sterling Publishing in October. Titled Tony Bennett In The Studio: A Life Of Art And Music, it features over 200 images of Bennett's paintings. Author Mitch Albom contributed the foreward and Mario Cuomo wrote the book's preface.

Bennett's Christmas Album, Snowfall, was first issued as a 10-song LP in 1968 and was a yuletide staple for years. In 1994, it was upgraded to CD for the first time, expanded with a bonus track recorded on The Jon Stewart Show (broadcast at the time by MTV Networks). Ten years later, the CD was digitally remastered and reissued on Columbia/Legacy with a new catalog number.

The brand new Snowfall Deluxe Edition reprises the CD, and adds a second disc, a bonus DVD containing five numbers (approximate running time: 20 minutes) that he performed on Tony Bennett: A Family Christmas. The one-hour 1992 network television special was previously available only as a long out-of-print VHS long-form home video from Sony Music Home Video. This marks the first DVD appearance for any of the show's content.

Tony Bennett Sings The Ultimate American Songbook Vol. 1 track listing:
1. Anything Goes
2. The Very Thought Of You
3. The Way You Look Tonight
4. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
5. That Old Black Magic
6. A Foggy Day
7. I'll Be Seeing You
8. Ain't Misbehavin'
9. It Had To Be You
10. Moonglow (w/k.d. lang)
11. She's Funny That Way
12. You Go To My Head
13. They Can't Take That Away From Me
14. You'll Never Get Away From Me
15. Taking A Chance On Love

Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album - Deluxe Edition track listing:
1. My Favorite Things
2. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
3. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
4. Medley: We Wish You A Merry Christmas/Silent Night/O Come All Ye Faithful/Jingle Bells/Where Is Love
5. Christmasland
6. I Love The Winter Weather/ I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
7. White Christmas
8. Winter Wonderland
9. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
10. Snowfall
11. I'll Be Home For Christmas (from The Jon Stewart Show)

DVD Selections
1. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
2. Christmas In Herald Square
3. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
4. I'll Be Home For Christmas
5. Medley: Toyland/Deck The Halls

Listen:
"It Had To Be You": Windows | Quicktime

"They Can't Take That Away From Me": Windows | Quicktime

-Lots More Tony Bennett on Starpulse

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