Song:When In Rome
Album:The Complete Tony Bennett Bill Evans Recordings
These days Tony Bennett records so many duets, it's become a bit of a running joke. I just think he's gone overboard. But back in the 70s, Bennett was at the lowest point in his career when he recorded two albums with legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. And both albums are available on CD. Bennett had his greatest success in the 60s on Columbia Records with iconic hits like I Left My Heart in San Francisco. But by the early 70s he had faded pretty badly. Columbia president Clive Davis was trying to get Bennett to record in a more contemporary style as he had convinced Barbra Streisand to do. But Bennett didn't want to do it and he left Columbia for Verve in 1972. He also moved to England and hosted a TV show for a while. He left Verve after two albums and planned to start his own label Improv. Meanwhile, though Bill Evans won two Grammys for the 1971 album The Bill Evans Album, his personal life was a mess as usual. His wife Elaine committed suicide after Evans left her for his next wife Nanette. And of course Evans was addicted to heroin. Singer Annie Ross suggested that Bennett record with Evans. They recorded two albums. One was released on Evans' label Fantasy Records and the second was released on Improv. There was no band. There was just the two of them in the recording studio along with Evans' manager and producer Helen Keane. And the great thing is that Concord has released both albums on 2CDs along with alternate takes and bonus tracks. When In Rome was written by Broadway veterans Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh. It was recorded by Barbra Streisand in 1964. Of course Evans died in 1979 so this was the only time these two music legends recorded together. And Bennett revived his career in the 80s and is still going strong today. Here's a clip from the series Ken Burns Jazz featuring Tony Bennett and Bill Evans performing When in Rome on The Tonight Show in 1975.