No other popular artist has quite the legacy of Mr. Tony Bennett. The 18-time Grammy winner has produced records with the likes of Paul McCartney, B.B. King, Elvis Costello, and most recently released an album of duets with Lady Gaga that reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Albums chart, making him the oldest musician to ever hold that spot. He can be spotted as a collaborator on albums, flirting with new genres of music, and singing at the Grammys.
His career spans decades and styles, but he’s declared that he left his heart in the Great American Songbook, keeping the songs by composers Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Jerome Kern alive and kicking. Bennett says classic jazz pop has stuck around because “it’s better than rock and roll…It’s not what’s popular, it’s what lasts. You take a song like, ‘Without a Song’ [by Vincent Youmans] it’s always gonna sound good. It’ll sound good 50 years from now, 100 years from now. It’s not gonna get old fashioned… eventually they’ll call it American classical music.”
His performances on this Thursday and Friday at Prudential Hall NJPAC (November 12-13) are part of the 4th Annual TD Moody Jazz Festival, dubbed the largest gathering for jazz fans on the East coast. Bennett’s performance headlines the festival that runs until November 15th, which included performances by Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride with Bruce Hornsby, as well as The Real Sinatra Songbook tribute performances and a screening of the award-winning 2014 documentary ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’, that chronicles the relationship between NJ jazz trumpeter Clark Terry and his blind piano prodigy Justin Kauflin. A portion of the proceeds for Bennett’s November 13th performance will benefit Strengthen Our Sisters, a New Jersey shelter program serving homeless women and their children.