Duets: An American Classic

(Sony BMG/Columbia)


TONY Bennett celebrates his 80th birthday by rounding up some of the biggest names in the industry, and does a run through of his most mem- orable hits in a series of duets. Bennett sounds as good as ever, but is rather let down by a lazy, uninspired orchestra. I would expect a milestone like this to be treated with a little more respect. The focus instead seems to be on pairing him with more bankable stars, simply because it is the fashionable thing to do these days.

Thankfully there are a number of notable duets, especially with Barbra Streisand on Smile. It's also great to hear Sting on record again, and the pair offers a commendable take on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams. The real winner, though, is Sing, You Sinners featuring John Legend.

I'm afraid to report that Juanes spoils the party as it is quite evident the dude can't carry a tune, and he sounds clueless next to Bennett.

All in all, there are probably about five tracks here worth listening to. Fans should refer to Bennett's solo recordings for the remaining songs.



Duets: An American Classic

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