Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga : Cheek to Cheek

October 2, 2014 5:39 AM

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Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga : Cheek to Cheek

There were two things I knew going into the new collaborative album of jazz standards by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. (A) I saw Tony Bennett in concert two years ago at Key Arena in Seattle, reflected upon the fact that he was 86 years old, and still had the lung capacity of an Olympic swimmer. He hit notes and effused charm that made me question several of my life choices in the areas of potables and athletics, obviously making my looming midlife crisis look like a Mel Brooks slapstick. And (B) I’m intrigued and usually charmed by Lady Gaga whether her albums are strong (Born This Way) or admirably misguided (ARTPOP) for the simple reason that beneath the bubble suits, tenderloin dresses, anime narratives and style panoplies, there was a person like me who took high school jazz band and drama courses and got their asses psychically kicked from time to time because of it. She’s part of my maligned, wedgied tribe, and you better believe I protect that shield.

So the pairing made more sense to me than it might have to others, and I was fairly confident Cheek To Cheek wasn’t going to be a disaster, and it’s not. Bennett doesn’t align himself with substandard artistes, and Gaga’s raw goods have always been there – it was just a matter of catching her in an ...

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