Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

samserv's Achievements


Newbie (1/14)

  • Week One Done Rare
  • One Month Later Rare
  • First Post Rare

Recent Badges



  1. I've been looking for a definitive version (with voice) of that ballad. I'll try your recommendation. Long ago I figured Musiker must be very good if even the great Eddie Higgins yielded to him as accompanist for Higgins' own wife Meredith d'Ambrosio. But the best soloists among jazz pianists are not necessarily the most sensitive accompanists for jazz vocalists, though Bill Evans, for the most part, succeeds on his two albums with Tony Bennett (voice and piano, no other instruments). I recall that Mel Torme, even after working extensively with Shearing, took special joy in having Mike Renzi on board ("None better," he would frequently say about Mike). I've noticed on Jack Jones' own interpretations of Tony Bennett chestnuts (on "J. J. Paints a Tribute to T. B.") that his voice has dropped by a third and is not only more baritone than tenor but more rough than smooth. Nevertheless, for the first time he becomes a full-fledged "jazz singer," with phrasing that can take a listener's breath away, as on Johnny Mandel's transcendent piece about the power of memory. The following lines occupy almost 4 measures, which the vocalist handles in a single breath: "Now when I remember spring / And all the joy that love can bring / I will be remembering" [Beautiful, Jack!. Come up for air now, and state the title of perhaps the most memorable, emotion-packed reading the song has received.] The reason for this inspired performance of a song Jack had previously recorded (as a tenor)? I'm convinced it's Mike Renzi's prodding yet unobtrusive accompaniment, including an improvised piano chorus on which every note has a purpose. A few years later Renzi would move on to serve as Tony's accompanist (joining Gary Sargent, gtr, and Harold Jones, perc). I first heard Tony in concert in 1964--pleasant but hardly gripping. 2015 was a different story. The crowd at Milwaukee's Riverside Theater was simply enthralled. Now in his late '80s, Tony finally waved off his musicians and filled the deep and high space with "Fly Me to the Moon," a singing the entire lyric "a cappella." When the applause stopped, Tony made a curious statement: "You see, I sing jazz." 20 years ago such an explanation would have seemed gratuitous. But to this audience, comprising under-55 year olds, it seemed to come as a revelation. Without elaborating, Tony launched his finale, "The Good Life," which is not only one of the best songs written after 1960 but the title of Tony's autobiography. Following this experience, I was too overcome by emotion to speak--even to my wife, who wondered if I was angry or depressed. After half an hour I had assembled myself sufficiently to suggest that the concert was on the same level as any of the six Sinatra concerts we had attended together. I only wish the event had been recorded. I find Sinatra's "Live at the Sands," which is the only concert date released during his lifetime, a nice reminder but somewhat lacking in musical values. The closest thing to a late-career triumph on record, akin to Tony Bennett in Milwaukee, is Sarah Vaughan's 2-disc monster performance, "In the City of Lights" (Paris, 1985). Less than 5 years before her passing, Sassy sounds better than ever, using for motivation her receptive audience and her accompanist, Frank Collett (her alter ego, or her most supportive pianist since the great Jimmy Jones). Sadly, both Renzi and Collett have passed. R.I.P. Mike and Frank, and thank you.
  • Create New...