On the heels of two critically acclaimed Duets albums, including last year’s wildly popular Duets II, Tony Bennett now rounds out the trilogy with the Latin-themed Viva Duets.
Following much the same format of its two predecessors, Viva Duets finds the 17-time-Grammy-winning legend collaborating with what he calls "a small army of the best performers that sing Spanish music," including Marc Anthony, Thalía, Christina Aguilera, and Vicente Fernández, among others.
While Bennett was familiar with a few of his latest guests prior to the project, with most others he admittedly was not. Still, Bennett says he was nonetheless impressed by everyone's contributions and the chemistry they achieved together.
“The Latinos sing right from the heart and with a lot of feeling,” says Bennett. "They’re such wonderful, friendly people."
That's high praise from an artist who for over 60 years has provided a veritable soundtrack for romance, his rich and intimate voice serving as a tonic for anyone with a beating heart, be it broken, unrequited, or in the throes of an all-consuming passion.
I wonder if you feel a particular affinity toward Latin music considering you grew up listening to Italian music, which of course has a lot of passion as well.
Absolutely. A long time ago, I realized that the bottom line—the actual truth of the whole situation—is that if the music hasn’t got feeling it’s actually boring. When there’s feeling, it’s meant. And if it’s meant, it’s forever.
The Latino artists, they believe in melody and harmony. And the majority of them sing right from the heart. They look for good songs that they can sing that’ll last forever.
The Viva Duets version of “The Way You Look Tonight” with Thalia is especially lovely, with how it's given such an understated treatment.
I love that song. Dorothy Fields wrote it, and it’s just the most beautiful song. People love it everywhere, not just in the Latin countries but internationally they love that song.
Since very early on in your career you've demonstrated an appreciation for well-written songs and great songwriters—Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter. Where did that come from?