The Year of Tony Bennett has seen Tony Bennett several times in concert, always with this quartet of gifted musicians who not only back up Mr. Bennett superbly, but are all exceptional artists in their own right.
Billy Stritch (piano). Billy Stritch is, as of October 1, 2016, the new pianist and musical director for Tony Bennett. Born in Texas, Stritch began playing jazz while a student in Houston, Texas. He is well-known and highly respected jazz pianist with a strong following in New York City. He has played for artists including Liza Minelli. He has recorded several albums on the DRG label. You can read more about Billy Stritch on his website.
Gray Sargent (guitar). Gray Sargent has, to the best of our knowledge, played with Mr. Bennett longer than other members of the current quartet. Gray was a member of the Ralph Sharon Quartet (along with Clayton Cameron and Paul Langosch) and has played with Ruby Braff. He is a recognized jazz and swing guitarist. Tony often sings with only Gray accompanying him at his concerts and those songs are always quite lovely. You can sometimes find Gray’s album, Shades of Gray, from Amazon.
Marshall Wood (bass). Marshall Wood is a well-respected jazz bass player. He played with Gray Sargent on Shades of Gray and with Rudy Braff.
Harold Jones (drums). Count Basie’s Favorite Drummer. He’s The Year of Tony Bennett‘s favorite drummer too. A native of Richmond, Indiana, he has played with many of the 20th and 21st century’s finest jazz artists: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Oscar Peterson, Benny Goodman, Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald and Natalie Cole. He is a renowned drumming instructor as well. We recently enjoyed the new biography of Mr. Jones: Harold Jones: The Singer’s Drummer by Gil Jacobs, which is available on Amazon.