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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2018, with the headline 'Hot Tracks'. Print Edition | Subscribe