Duets II: The Great Performances is a visually stunning video companion to Tony Bennett's history-making #1 album, Duets II. The Blu-Ray features the full song performances from Tony and today's greatest artists as they were recorded live in the studio. The musical segments are enhanced by insights on the process from Tony and the duet partners, providing an inside look at this landmark album in an unprecedented career.
Sinatra Sings Great Songs from Great Britain is one of the oddest albums in Sinatra's catalog. Recorded in the summer of 1962 and available only in the U.K. for a number of years, the album consists of songs by British composers, performed with British musicians, and recorded in Britain, while Sinatra was on tour. As it happened, Sinatra was tired and worn out during the sessions, and arranger/conductor Robert Farnon had written a set of charts that were ambitious, lush, ornate, and sweeping. Although the arrangements are provocative – occasionally they are more interesting than the actual songs – Sinatra was simply not in good shape for the sessions, which is clear from his thin, straining singing. As such, Great Songs from Great Britain isn't much more than a curiosity.
Verve's Great Songs/Great Performances series is yet another attempt in a seemingly never-ending stream of them to repackage – and hopefully resell – their vast catalog of jazz and blues. They're super cheap in both cost and presentation, but the music is almost always stellar. Jimmy Smith's Plays the Hits volume is no exception. These eight selection are covers of tunes by the Rolling Stones (" Satisfaction"), Fats Domino ("Blueberry Hill"), Don Covay ("Chain of Fools") James Brown ("Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"), Otis Redding ("Respect"), Al Green ("Let's Stay Together"), and others. It's a groove lover's cheap dream.