You gotta hand it to a guy who not only keeps singing after a 60-year career, but who apparently has yet to peak. At 86, Tony Bennett is a music icon who just continues to have a stunningly successful career, his popularity easily matching what it was in his early years, if not surpassing it.
At this point, singing with Bennett on his recent “Duets” series of albums has become something of a status symbol among celebrity vocalists—and with the third installment, Viva Duets, Bennett tips his hat to the Latin culture by sharing the microphone with a string of successful Latin singers. Among the names on the list: Christina Aguilera, Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Thalia and Vincente Fernandez, to name a few.
Just to be clear—this is not a Latin album, at least in terms of musical style. The track list consists of standards and old favorites (e.g., “The Best Is Yet to Come”, “The Good Life”, “Rags to Riches”) arranged in the same jazzy-lounge style Bennett is known for. Also, Bennett leaves the Spanish singing to his counterparts, and even a few of those opt to sing in English. But the combination definitely works; the romantic vibe of Bennett’s crooner style blends seamlessly with the romance of the Spanish language to the point that the songs sound equally natural in either language—not to mention romantic. (Guys—take a cue the next time you have a date. This record would play very well with a candlelight dinner. Just saying.)
It’s admittedly difficult to review a record by an icon (what are you gonna say—it’s not as good as the last seventy albums?), but thankfully, Tony Bennett continues to deliver a musical standard that is unmatched even by many of today’s stars. Point: Viva Duets is actually every bit as good as the last seventy. As for Tony Bennett’s career, one of his signature tunes seems to serve as a motto. The best truly is yet to come.