When two jazz superstars team up on a selection of Gershwin tunes, the result is bound to be “’S Wonderful.” And 11 other classy interpretations.
Veteran crooner Tony Bennett and contemporary chanteuse Diana Krall, friends for 20 years, have cherry-picked the George and Ira Gershwin catalog for Love Is Here to Stay, out Sept. 14 on Verve. The set arrives just ahead of the 120th anniversary of George Gershwin’s birth on Sept. 26.
The two toured together in 2000 and linked voices on a pair of Bennett's earlier releases, but this is their first full-length album collaboration.
“The first time I met Diana was at the Montreal Jazz Festival,” Bennett recalls in an email conversation. “She was just starting to get noticed, and I was so impressed that I asked her to play piano on a song during my set, which happened to be Gershwin’s classic, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” So it’s pretty remarkable that over 20 years have passed and all the while we remained good friends and she has just perfected her talents. And now on this new album we are singing that very same song together.”
Paying homage to the Gershwins, a staple in his hefty catalog, was an easy call. “The music of the Gershwins is all-American,” he says. “They captured the spirit of this country, its vitality and flair and uniqueness, and that still shows through in their lyrics and music decades later.”
The Gershwin theme was Bennett’s idea, and Krall was all in.
“I followed his lead of choosing material,” Krall says, also in an email interview. “Because it was Gershwin, it was harder to narrow choices down to just one album as there are so many great songs to choose from. I think what we have is wonderful.
“Tony and I have such musical ease together. Being with him is always fun. I listen so closely to what he is doing so it becomes natural, like a conversation. And of course he makes my life so glamorous you cannot blame me for being amorous!”