Smorgasbord Summer Jazz 2017 – William Price King meets Tony Bennett – Happy 90th Birthday


Welcome to the finale at least of this part of Tony Bennett’s life. There seems to be no reason to believe that we will not be celebrating the next ten years of this extraordinary artist’s life. His lifetime of dedication to his technique ensures that his voice remains as true as ever and to look at the last 15 years of Tony’s performances, chart successes and collaborations I will now hand you over to William Price King. You will find all the other parts to this series in this directory https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

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Tony Bennett believes in giving back to his local community as well as those around the world which are in need. As well as performing at charity benefits and supporting international aid efforts he is committed to promoting the creative arts for the young. In 1999 he and his wife Susan Benedetto founded Exploring the Arts (ETA) to promote the role of the arts in public school education. ETA connects private donors, individual artists and cultural institutions to Partner Schools with the aim of reducing the impact of budgetary cuts, and sustaining a culture of opportunity for students through various programmes. The first of these was the establishment of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in 2001 in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. ETA currently partners with 17 public high schools, 14 in the boroughs of New York City and 3 in Los Angeles

Tony Bennett’s music since 2000 has been a combination of solo performances and collaborations with some of the top contemporary artist such as Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga. The first album in 2000, The Ultimate Tony Bennett reached #2 in the Jazz chart at home and set the scene for the next ten years.

His second album of the new millennium was in the company of some incredible musicians and singers. Playin’ With My Friends: Bennett Sings The Blues entertains with well-loved tracks such as Let The Good Times Roll with B.B. King, New York State of Mind with Billy Joel and the 1933 song by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, Stormy Weather with Natalie Cole. The album achieved gold status and reached #2 in the US Jazz chart. Uploaded by Diogo Brito e Faro

This was followed up later in the year with a live album Christmas in Vienna VII with Charlotte Church, Placido Domingo and Vanessa Williams. This powerhouse combination took the album into the charts in Europe.

The next album that took the charts by storm was the collaboration with k.d. Lang in 2002. A Wonderful World hit Gold and Platinum status and was #41 in the US Chart, #2 in the Jazz chart and in the top 50 in several international charts. Tracks included La Vie en Rose by Mack David, David Louiguy and Edith Piaf; Dream A Little Dream Of Me by Fabian Andre, Gus Khan and Wilbur Schwandt and What A Wonderful World by Robert Thiele and George David Weiss. Uploaded by IvanRQ8

A reminder of just some of the accolades that Tony Bennett had received during his long career to this point.

  • Star on the Hollywood of Fame
  • Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Society of Composers, Author and Publishers in 2002.
  • In 2005, Tony was recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor.
  • Inducted into the Long Island Hall of Fame.

In August 2006 it was Tony Bennett’s 80th birthday and celebrations took place throughout the year with performances and accolades pouring in from around the world. Apart from Tony’s birthday there was another cause for celebration as his album Duets: An American Classic reached the highest ever in the album charts and received two Grammy Awards. It went gold and platinum as it hit the International charts at #1 in the US and in the top 20 across the main music charts in the world. The songs that Tony chose for this birthday album represented the best of the American Song Book and included Lullaby Of Broadway with Dixie Chicks, Put On A Happy Face with James Taylor, Smile with Barbra Streisand, The Good Life with Billy Joel, Just in Time with Michael Buble, If I Ruled The World with Celine Dion and most appropriately, The Best Is Yet To Come by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh performed with Diana Krall. tonybennettVEVO

During that year of celebration Rob Marshall directed a television special Tony Bennett: An American Classic that aired at Thanksgiving and received multiple Emmy Awards and the Billboard Century Award. Tony also appeared on the sixth season of American Idol as a guest mentor, passing on his great experience and knowledge to the lucky contestants.

He received further recognition from the International community and received the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Humanitarian Award for his charity work. In 2006 he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award which is the highest honor that the United States bestows on jazz musicians.

In 2008 Tony teamed up with the Count Basie Big Band for a Christmas special and appeared with Billy Joel at the final concerts of New York State of Mind at Shea Stadium.

Despite heading towards his 85th birthday Tony Bennett was not slowing down and in a follow up to his first highly successful collaboration album, he released Duets II. The seventeen tracks with artists from across the broad spectrum of music techniques included Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Queen Latifah, Josh Groban, Carrie Underwood and Lady Gaga. Again this album did extremely well in the charts both in America and around the world nearly all in the top ten.

His duet with Amy Winehouse, one of the last recordings made before her untimely death, charted in the Billboard Hot 100 making Tony Bennett the oldest living artist to appear there as well as the performer with the greatest span of appearances in the chart. The album also debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, the first time Tony had reached that spot and making him the oldest living artist to do so.

Later that year Columbia released Tony Bennett – The Complete Collection which is a 73 CD plus 3-DVD set and whilst not quite representative of all his work brought many of his original vinyl onto CD with some previously unreleased material.

Buy the set: Complete Collection Amazon

On the performance side, Tony Bennett appeared at the Royal Variety Performance in the presence of HRH Princess Anne in December 2011 and in October 2012 he performed his signature song I Left My Heart in San Francisco in front of more than 100,000 fans at a City Hall ceremony commemorating the 2012 World Series victory by the San Francisco Giants. He also published another memoir, Life is a Gift: The Zen of Bennett alongside a documentary produced by his son Danny of the same title.

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An area that we have not touched on is Tony Bennett’s other creative success as an artist. He paints under the name of Anthony Benedetto or just Benedetto. He followed on from his childhood interest with professional training and had spent a lifetime exploring the best art museums of the world. He sketches or paints every day, often the views out of hotel windows when on tour. He has exhibited in galleries around the world and was commissioned by the United Nations to do two paintings, including one for its 50th Anniversary. You can find out more about his artwork https://tonybennett.com/benedetto_arts.php

2014 brought a stunning new collaboration that would delight Tony’s fans. The album Cheek to Cheek with Lady Gaga debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and swept through the top ten in the major international charts. At the end of 2014 these two unique and iconic artists kicked off their Cheek to Cheek tour.

On September 25, 2015, he released an album composed by Jerome Kern, featuring Bill Charlap on piano, called The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern. Tracks include Pick Yourself Up, They Didn’t Believe Me and Look For The Silver Lining.

As we all celebrate the continued success and artistry that is Tony Bennett as he celebrates his 90th birthday here is a quote that illustrates his artistic stance from an interview in 2010.

I’m not staying contemporary for the big record companies, I don’t follow the latest fashions. I never sing a song that’s badly written. In the 1920s and ’30s, there was a renaissance in music that was the equivalent of the artistic Renaissance. Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer and others just created the best songs that had ever been written. These are classics, and finally they’re not being treated as light entertainment. This is classical music.”

To end this finale of the Tony Bennett story to this point in his career, here is a track from the album Cheek to Cheek with Lady Gaga.

Happy Birthday Tony.. Here is to the next ten years!

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King

Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/

We hope you have enjoyed the series and please let us know as well as share the post with your networks.. thanks Sally

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