Tony Bennett teams up with Diana Krall in charming new album of Gershwin standards

Singer Tony Bennett is 92 and still going strong. And his "pair with a younger partner/s to reach the younger demographic" strategy has been paying dividends since 2006, when he released his Duets album, so why mess with a winning formula?

This full-length album, with an all-Gershwin programme, reunites him with crooner pianist Diana Krall, a mere stripling at 53, with whom he first teamed on 2001's Playin' With My Friends.

Add the elegant Bill Charlap Trio and you get a classy, cosy outing that tames Bennett's belting tendencies and boosts Krall's inviting croon to charming effect.

The singers have an easy, relaxed rapport that is captured by the spontaneous live-recording approach. This is immediately evident on the opening track S'Wonderful, which swings with a bouncy strut.

Bennett's full-throated style may seem the opposite of Krall's seductive whisper, but in this intimate ensemble setting, they discover a beguiling middle ground. Listen to the seductive call and response and push and pull of their alternating verses in My One And Only and I've Got A Crush On You.

Beyond the ballads, they can burn the floor too, as they demonstrate in a smartly uptempo take on Fascinatin' Rhythm.

  • JAZZ

  • LOVE IS HERE TO STAY

    Tony Bennett & Diana Krall, with The Bill Charlap Trio

    Verve

    Rating: 4/5

Each singer gets a solo track too - Bennett on the defiantly carefree finale Who Cares? and Krall on a wistfully melancholic But Not For Me.

But it is when their voices are tussling in free-form fashion that this album truly shines.

Ong Sor Fern

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2018, with the headline Tony Bennett teams up with Diana Krall in charming new album of Gershwin standards. Subscribe