Tony Bennett and Bill Evans: Make Someone Happy

An often-overlooked part of Bill Evans’ genius was his ability to listen closely to what his fellow musicians are doing and adjust his own playing accordingly without compromising his own imprint. He demonstrated this ability with Miles Davis, Scott LaFaro and Stan Getz. Late in his career, he proved to also be a perfect companion to a master crooner in Tony Bennett.

Take “Make Someone Happy,” for instance. Bennett’s vocal delivery on this Broadway tune is breathtaking in its warmth, power and control. The polished phrasing is sometimes on the beat and sometimes a little behind it, a Sinatra hallmark. Evans, however, comps to perfectly match Bennett lyric by lyric. As soon as the singer takes a breather, Evans relishes the brief freedom to do a uptempo happy dance with his right hand on the lighter side of the ivories, segueing smoothly back into an accompanist role right on cue when Bennett sings his concluding chorus.

“Make Someone Happy” is just one of several highlights of the 1975-76 sessions between these two legends, but the tour de force displayed on this track alone is enough to make those memorable meetings live up to the billing.

April 15, 2009 · 0 comments


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