Who else but Anthony Benedetto, a.k.a. Tony Bennett, could unite such diverse artists and icons as Barbra Streisand, Bono, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Sting, James Taylor, the Dixie Chicks, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Michael Buble, Tim McGraw, Elvis Costello, et al, to sing duets of the songs most associated with him over the last six-plus decades—not across coasts and even continents the lackluster way that Sinatra did late in his career, but one-on-one, live and in person alongside of him, working to make every phrase count? But this is no-has-Bennett, this is a guy who having turned 80 on August 3, is singing with more poise and musicianship in his twilight years than he has during a remarkable career that continues to have cross-generational appeal as he remains the greatest living interpreter of the classic American songbook. How much longer Bennett can keep this up is anyone’s guess, but here’s for relishing it while we can. (Dennis Polkow)
September 1 at Ravinia Festival.