Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NEW SOUNDS

LADY GAGA & TONY BENNETT


After Lady Gaga recorded a song with Tony Bennett for the sequel to his popular "Duets" album in 2011, this unlikely duo got along so well that they wanted to do an entire album together. That has finally worked out with "Cheek To Cheek", a collection of jazz standards. Their wish is that this record will get younger listeners interested in these classic songs by such composers as George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Duke Ellington. Recorded the old-fashioned way, live with an orchestra, Gaga and Bennett seem to inspire each other and had a lot of fun together.

Here is their swinging version of the Irving Berlin song, "Let's Face The Music and Dance":

"Let's Face The Music and Dance" -Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett (2014)

Take a look at the music video for "Anything Goes" for an example of how much these two enjoy each other:



BARBRA STREISAND


"Partners", the thirty-fourth studio album from Barbra Streisand is another duets release from the legendary performer but this time, most of the songs are re-recordings of her previous hits. Produced by Walter Afanasieff and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds (who is also one of her duet partners on "Evergreen"), the CD features some of the best vocalists in music history. The line-up includes Lionel Ritchie ("The Way We Were"), Billy Joel ("New York State of Mind"), John Legend ("What Kind of Fool"), Josh Groban ("Somewhere"), Stevie Wonder ("People") and most surprisingly, the late Elvis Presley on his classic, "Love Me Tender".  Some of the match-ups are more effective than others but overall, "Partners" is still worth a listen. It's interesting to note that there were no other female singers used on this project. Perhaps no one was available? Anyway, the album is off to a great start as it has reached the top-ten in several countries and debuted at number one in the U.S.

Here is the virtual musical pairing of Streisand with the "King", who actually came very close to co-starring with her in the 1976 remake of "A Star Is Born":

"Love Me Tender" - Barbra Streisand & Elvis Presley (2014)

SMOKEY ROBINSON


On his first CD in four years and on his new label, Verve, Smokey Robinson has also decided to go the duets route on the appropriately entitled, "Smokey & Friends". Like the Streisand record, Robinson has rounded up some of his musical buddies (such as James Taylor, Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow and John Legend) to rework the songs he wrote and made famous. Sadly, there really isn't much here that's inspired or particularly memorable.

One of the more interesting tracks is with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith who together do an adequate blues-rock version of "You Really Got a Hold On Me". Have a listen:

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