Well, the great singer lived a long, full life, making duets with Lady Gaga into his nineties. He died today at 96. I’ll say a bit more in tomorrow’s Nooz, but here’s a pair of songs that are among my favorites. What a rich voice the man had!
I’ll put up first my favorite Bennett solo, though not many people know of it and it never appears on Bennett “best of” lists. It’s “Love Look Away” from the musical “Flower Drum Song.” This song, with its gorgeous melody and Bennett’s belting, always gives me tingles. It was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein and first performed in 1958, the year of this recording.
I found one site that said this: “While the score is quite beautiful, Flower Drum Song is seldom performed today due to concerns regarding Asian-American stereotypes.” Perhaps that’s true (I’ve never seen the play or movie), but I can’t say that this song evinces any stereotypes.
This is my favorite duet: Bennett and Lady Gaga singing “The Lady is a Tramp“, again written by Rodgers (but this time with Lorenz Hart) for the 1937 musical “Babes in Arms.” What fun these two are having!