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The Complete Improv Recordings

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Tony Bennett 11/9/2004

Review

For those new to the music of Tony Bennett, 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 1975 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. The albums included here are Tony Bennett Sings 10 Rodgers and 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. While the original albums have been issued on CD before, complete sessions have never been available until now. Along with the original LPs are unissued alternate takes, 45s, and even an unreleased tune finished for a particular session but never used. In addition, the album with the McPartlands is here on compact disc for the first time. It should also be noted that this box finally completes the two different Tony Bennett and Bill Evans Together Again CD issues that were released on Rhino and Concord with different material. Collectors will find the box irresistible as much for its fine, if simple, presentation as for the material itself. The liner essay by jazz writer Will Friewald is not only informative about the period and the label, but is exhaustive in its discussion of the recording sessions. This is a reasonably priced multi-disc collection that offers an intimate, up-close view 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 Life Is Beautiful Tony Bennett 2:23
  3. 2 All Mine Tony Bennett 2:52
  4. 3 Bridges (Travessia) Tony Bennett 3:34
  5. 4 Reflections Tony Bennett 3:32
  6. 5 Experiment Tony Bennett 1:45
  7. 6 This Funny World Tony Bennett 2:43
  8. 7 As Time Goes By Tony Bennett 3:11
  9. 8 I Used to Be Color Blind Tony Bennett 2:18
  10. 9 Lost in the Stars Tony Bennett 4:1
  11. 10 There'll Be Some Changes Made Tony Bennett 2:59
  12. 11 Cole Porter Medley: What Is This Thing Called Love/Love for Sale/You'd Tony Bennett 13:50
  13. 12 There's Always Tomorrow Tony Bennett 2:11
  14. 13 One Tony Bennett 2:19
  15. 14 Mr. Magic Tony Bennett 2:51
  16. 1 This Can't Be Love Tony Bennett 1:38
  17. 2 Blue Moon Tony Bennett 2:9
  18. 3 The Lady Is a Tramp Tony Bennett 2:26
  19. 4 Lover Tony Bennett 3:46
  20. 5 Manhattan Tony Bennett 3:15
  21. 6 Spring Is Here Tony Bennett 2:40
  22. 7 Have You Met Miss Jones? Tony Bennett 3:18
  23. 8 Isn't It Romantic? Tony Bennett 3:20
  24. 9 Wait Till You See Her Tony Bennett 1:24
  25. 10 I Could Write a Book Tony Bennett 3:8
  26. 11 Thou Swell Tony Bennett 2:10
  27. 12 The Most Beautiful Girl in the World Tony Bennett 3:44
  28. 13 There's a Small Hotel Tony Bennett 2:59
  29. 14 I've Got Five Dollars Tony Bennett 2:33
  30. 15 You Took Advantage of Me Tony Bennett 2:15
  31. 16 I Wish I Were in Love Again Tony Bennett 2:25
  32. 17 This Funny World Tony Bennett 3:3
  33. 18 My Heart Stood Still Tony Bennett 1:54
  34. 19 My Romance Tony Bennett 3:41
  35. 20 Mountain Greenery Tony Bennett 2:54
  36. 21 This Can't Be Love Tony Bennett 1:41
  37. 22 I Could Write a Book Tony Bennett 3:13
  38. 23 Thou Swell Tony Bennett 2:6
  39. 24 The Most Beautiful Girl in the World Tony Bennett 3:16
  40. 25 I Wish I Were in Love Again Tony Bennett 2:51
  41. 26 This Funny World Tony Bennett 3:18
  42. 1 The Bad and the Beautiful Tony Bennett 2:14
  43. 2 Lucky to Be Me Tony Bennett 3:42
  44. 3 Make Someone Happy Tony Bennett 3:49
  45. 4 You're Nearer Tony Bennett 2:19
  46. 5 A Child Is Born Frank Sinatra 3:13
  47. 6 The Two Lonely People Tony Bennett 4:23
  48. 7 You Don't Know What Love Is Tony Bennett 3:23
  49. 8 Maybe September Tony Bennett 3:51
  50. 9 Lonely Girl Tony Bennett 2:45
  51. 10 You Must Believe in Spring Tony Bennett 5:47
  52. 11 Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me) Tony Bennett 2:24
  53. 12 Dream Dancing Tony Bennett 3:44
  54. 13 The Bad and the Beautiful Tony Bennett 2:8
  55. 14 The Bad and the Beautiful Tony Bennett 2:5
  56. 15 Make Someone Happy Tony Bennett 3:50
  57. 16 You're Nearer Tony Bennett 2:54
  58. 17 A Child Is Born Frank Sinatra 3:22
  59. 18 A Child Is Born Frank Sinatra 3:8
  60. 19 Two Lonely People Tony Bennett 4:39
  61. 20 You Don't Know What Love Is Tony Bennett 3:29
  62. 21 You Don't Know What Love Is Tony Bennett 3:33
  63. 1 Maybe September Tony Bennett 4:33
  64. 2 Maybe September Tony Bennett 4:28
  65. 3 Lonely Girl Tony Bennett 2:53
  66. 4 You Must Believe in Spring Tony Bennett 5:57
  67. 5 You Must Believe in Spring Tony Bennett 5:32
  68. 6 You Must Believe in Spring Tony Bennett 2:31
  69. 7 Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me) Tony Bennett 4:45
  70. 8 Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise Tony Bennett 3:50
  71. 9 Stompin' at the Savoy Tony Bennett 4:51
  72. 10 While We're Young Tony Bennett 2:4
  73. 11 In a Mellow Tone Tony Bennett 6:6
  74. 12 It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) Tony Bennett 2:42
  75. 13 Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love) Tony Bennett 4:53
  76. 14 'S Wonderful Tony Bennett 3:28
  77. 15 I Left My Heart in San Francisco Tony Bennett 1:54

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