“Tony Bennett: A Swingin’ Christmas” was recorded live on the stage of Bergen Pac in Englewood, NJ, keeping with Bennett’s mandate to embrace the live aspect of performing in the recording process. The Count Basie Orchestra joined Bennett for the sessions and jazz pianist Monty Alexander took on the role of Count Basie at piano. 2009 NEA Jazz Master recipient Toots Thielemans also makes a guest appearance on the recording. (Source:http://www.tonybennett.net/)
This CD was released in October and by the first week of November I saw it in every store I entered in both the music sections and at the check out counters! Who knew?
As a fan of Bennett I had pre-ordered mine from Amazon and never got around to playing it until mid-November after checking out the more contemporary new Holiday CDs.
This set is nice for background music while blogging and/or putting up holiday decorations but it is nothing special (no disrepect to Mr. Bennett intended). Produced by Phil Ramone and Executive produced by Danny Bennett (Tony’s son?) the most unique thing about the set is the artwork done by Mr. Bennett that appears on the back of the CD as pictured above plus the fact that Bennett’s phrasing is still just as unique unto him even in his 8th decade of life! BTW you may see the art work without the text posted at the official web site listed above as the source of the CD announcement quote above: be sure to turn your sound down/off before you go there.
The tracks recorded are all Yuletide standards. There is a duet with Bennett’s daughter Antonia and the Count Basie Big Band is awesome as expected. As mention above, the vocals done by Mr. Bennett are in his usual style, but the stand out for me both musically and vocally is “Silver Bells” — it “swings” like the title of the set says it should!
This is not a mandatory purchase but if you are a Bennett completist by all means take the plunge.
01. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
02. Silver Bells
03. All I Want For Christmas Is You
04. My Favorite Things
05. Christmas Time Is Here
06. Winter Wonderland
07. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
08. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
09. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – duet with Antonia Bennett
10. The Christmas Waltz
11. O Christmas Tree