The album of the week starting on February 12, 2022, is Tony Bennett Sings a String of Harold Arlen.
Tony Bennett Sings a String of Harold Arlen was Tony Bennett’s first album dedicated to a composer and that composer was one of his favorites: Harold Arlen. The orchestral arrangements are quite beautiful. Bennett remembers this album in The Good Life:
Later on that year I did my first, and for many years my only, songbook album, A String of Harold Arlen. The son of a cantor, Harold grew up in Buffalo. He became the musical director of the Cotton Club and originally wrote many jazz compositions. But his pop songs were dramatic and right up my alley. Arlen was known for the jazzy quality of his melodies, but Mitch thought it would be novel to give his songs a lush, symphonic treatment. He brought in Glenn Osser, a veteran record and show orchestrator, and his charts were just right. I felt free singing to Glenn’s arrangements. We used a big orchestra of mainly classical players, and they really enjoyed the recording session. That’s the only album I ever made where the musicians actually applauded after each take.
|March 30, 1961
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