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The Best of the Improv Recordings

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Tony Bennett 7/12/2011

Review

Improv was a label started by Tony Bennett and businessman Bill Hassett. Bennett was fed up with the suits at Columbia Records, who were trying to make him sing rock & roll. When his contract expired at the beginning of the 1970s, he and Hassett formed a label to help him realize his aesthetic ambitions, and Improv was born. Bennett recorded five albums for the label between 1973 and 1977 before it went bankrupt. These recordings may not have sold well -- due largely to distribution problems -- but all of them were critically acclaimed. On these sides, Bennett is in awesome company throughout, with talent ranging from Bill Evans and Earl Hines to Ruby Braff to Marian McPartland to Buddy Tate and Charlie Byrd. Selections come from the original albums Tony Bennett Sings 10 Rodgers & Hart Songs, Tony Bennett Sings More Great Rodgers & Hart, Tony Bennett and Bill Evans Together Again (this was the follow-up to the Fantasy set entitled The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album, and is easily the better of the two), Life Is Beautiful, and Tony Bennett with the McPartlands and Friends Make Magnificent Music. Although collectors will opt for the completist box set (The Complete Improv Recordings), this is a good summation of a restlessly original artist during the biggest gamble of his professional career. ~ Thom Jurek
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 This Can't Be Love Tony Bennett 1:38
  3. 2 Make Someone Happy Tony Bennett 3:49
  4. 3 Isn't It Romantic? Tony Bennett 3:21
  5. 4 Life Is Beautiful Tony Bennett 2:23
  6. 5 Blue Moon Tony Bennett 2:10
  7. 6 Thou Swell Tony Bennett 2:10
  8. 7 You Don't Know What Love Is Tony Bennett 3:23
  9. 8 My Romance Tony Bennett 3:41
  10. 9 The Lady Is a Tramp Tony Bennett 2:26
  11. 10 You Must Believe in Spring Tony Bennett 5:47
  12. 11 Reflections Tony Bennett 3:32
  13. 12 I Could Write a Book Tony Bennett 3:8
  14. 13 Maybe September Tony Bennett 3:51
  15. 14 As Time Goes By Tony Bennett 3:11
  16. 15 While We're Young Tony Bennett 2:4
  17. 16 I Left My Heart in San Francisco Tony Bennett 1:53

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