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Rock/pop

Tony Bennett: At Carnegie Hall

At Carnegie Hall
Tony Bennett: At Carnegie Hall
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Wow. That’s about all I could muster when I first heard this stunning LP reissue. And yes, I plead a baffling ignorance to its existence, which makes me (and anyone else hearing them for the first time) especially lucky to finally discover these sides. Recorded on June 9, 1962, it showcases Tony Bennett in peak vocal form, elegantly accompanied by the Ralph Sharon Orchestra. As Sharon’s liner notes explain, the evening represented a bold shift in Bennett’s career, shifting from TV and nightclub slots to Carnegie Hall. The 28 songs unfold as naturally as breathing, and listing the more famous ones, such as “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “April in Paris,” “Blue Velvet,” and “One for My Baby,” in no way diminishes the brilliant program presented that night. The sound here, as mastered from the original 3-track masters by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, is as fabulous as the music. The balance between Bennett and the orchestra is near perfect, with a lively sense of air, space, and dynamic snap. The Columbia engineers captured Bennett’s voice and the instruments with the relaxed naturalness they created on this stellar evening, with an immediacy that rather magically brings the entire concert home.

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By Wayne Garcia

Although I’ve been a wine merchant for the past decade, my career in audio was triggered at age 12 when I heard the Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! blasting from my future brother-in-law’s giant home-built horn speakers. The sound certainly wasn’t sophisticated, but, man, it sure was exciting.

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