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Tony Bennett Returns with <i>The Art of Romance</i>


All is well with veteran jazz crooner Tony Bennett. At 78, he looks great, and says, with no uncertainty, that he's feeling just fine. Well, why not? His career remains in full swing. Tony recently performed at a benefit concert with Paul McCartney and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Tony also jetted off to the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean to sing at a wedding on national television, and has released a five-disc anniversary collection. Tony Bennett captures our hearts, yet again, with a new CD titled "The Art Of Romance."

Tony Bennett is a master of the Great American Songbook. He's held that title for as long as most fans can remember. Tony puts a magical touch on every song he sings, whether it's Johnny Mercer's "I Remember You" or Johnny Mandel's "Little Did I Dream." His obvious love for entertaining always seems to win over another generation of adoring fans.

To fully appreciate Tony Bennett, you have to return to his humble beginnings as a struggling New York nightclub performer working under the name Joe Bari. Following Bob Hope's suggestion that he change his name to Tony Bennett, the aspiring young singer won his first recording contract and a hit song with "Can You Find It In Your Heart." For most jazz singers, including Tony Bennett, the 1960s and '70s proved to be tough times, as rock 'n' roll, folk and disco commanded a majority of sales and radio airplay. But Bennett, despite falling out of favor, pushed on. He stuck with the classics, and in the 1980s he was back on top with his multi-million selling Unplugged album.

What's been the key to Tony Bennett's success? He admits that some of it comes from luck, but adds, "It's about having faith in the audience to discover great art."

Tributes to great composers and vocalists are nothing new for Tony Bennett. His most recent recordings included tribute albums honoring Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and a Grammy-winning effort with k.d. lang to Louis Armstrong.

Tony Bennett wanted to try something a little different on his latest release, Art Of Romance. In addition to re-introducing little-known songs to listeners, he made his songwriting debut, composing the lyrics to Django Reinhardt's "All For You."