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Duets II by Tony Bennett
Released: Sep 2011
Label: RPM Records/Columbia
If you're impressed by the deliriously playful reading of "The Lady Is a Tramp" with Gaga, just wait: There are multiple moments on Tony Bennett's second set of duets that underscore the avuncular crooner's stone-cold hipness. Alongside John Mayer, Norah Jones, even Queen Latifah, Bennett brings out the best of his cohorts, playing the straight man, the joker or the sap, and sounding fantastically engaged. It's heavy with ballads and we could do without some of the chest-swelling showboating (lookin' your way, Groban), but Duets II is a fun offering from the veteran stylist.
Nate Cavalieri