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Tony Bennett - 'Viva Duets' CD Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Photo Courtesy Columbia

Tony Bennett - 'Viva Duets'

Photo Courtesy Columbia

The 2012 duets-themed project from legendary singer Tony Bennett is finally here. Following the successful release of Duets: An American Classic and Duets II, the famous Jazz singer has invited some of the best Latin music artists in the world to sing the hits that have defined his notable and fruitful career. The following is an overview of one of this year's most anticipated albums.

Outstanding Artist Lineup

The making of Viva Duets posed two challenges to Tony Bennett. First, he needed to keep the high standards of the successful duets-themed albums he previously recorded. Second, Tony Bennett needed to find a way to blend his own style within the Latin music realm.

In order to achieve that, Tony Bennett did the right move by inviting to Viva Duets some of the biggest Latin music stars in the world including artists like Marc Anthony, Juan Luis Guerra, Romeo Santos, Vicente Fernandez and Christina Aguilera, among many more.

Thanks to this an amazing artist lineup, Viva Duets generated lots of expectations right from the very beginning the project was conceived. Did Tony Bennett meet the expectations?

A Heavy Contrast of Styles

If I were to answer the previous question based on my first reaction to this album, I would have to say the answer is no. At the beginning, I found difficult to find the right channel to put together Tony Bennett's jazzy style with the Latin Pop singing of artists like Chayanne or Franco De Vita. That issue became even more pronounced with the bilingual lyrics that are included in most songs.

As a result of this, I was connected right the way with those tracks where there was not such a strong difference in terms of music styles. Along those lines, some of my very favorite songs on this album are "Steppin' Out With My Baby," a delicious track featuring Christina Aguilera's fantastic voice, and "For Once In My Life," a perfect recording where Tony Bennett and Marc Anthony sound just great.

An Album To Digest

In spite of my first reaction, I knew Viva Duets was the kind of work you need to digest in more than one bite. The more you listen to it, the more you like it. I believe once you overcome the striking difference of music styles offered by some of the tracks, you are finally on your way to start enjoying this album.

Apart from the songs I embraced from the very beginning, I really like the harmonious contrast created by Thalia and Tony Bennett in the single "The Way You Look Tonight." Similarly, I enjoy the lively spirit of the track "Are You Havin' Any Fun," featuring a solid performance by Dani Martin.

'Viva Duets' - Bottom Line

To be honest with you, I was not too excited about this album the first time I listened to it. I blamed that initial lack of excitement on the high expectations I had put on this work. However, I do not think my expectations were unfair especially because I knew I was in front of an album that was made of legendary hits featuring some of the best Latin music artists in the whole world.

That said, Tony Bennett's Viva Duets is the kind of album that needs the right 'digestion.' I think the heavy contrast of styles is difficult to enjoy at the beginning. However, the more you get into it, the more you understand Tony's satisfaction with the final product, which the legendary artist sees as an album that has the timeless appeal of his previous duets-themed projects.

I am curious to see how people are going to react to Viva Duets. If people are willing to 'digest' it in the right way, I think the album is going to be successful. Just to be fair, my final rating for this this album combines my first reaction with the way I have been enjoying it for the past days. Viva Duets is everything but boring. After all, the big names on it represent your best shot to enjoy this album.

'Viva Duets' - Best Tracks

  • "The Way You Look Tonight," featuring Thalia
  • "Steppin' Out With My Baby," featuring Christina Aguilera
  • "For Once In My Life," featuring Marc Anthony
  • "Are You Havin' Any Fun," featuring Dani Martin
  • "Just In Time," featuring Juan Luis Guerra
  • "Cold, Cold Heart," featuring Vicentico
  • "I Wanna Be Around," featuring Ricardo Arjona
Record Label: Columbia Records
Release Date: October 22, 2012
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