Rolling Stone - 12/23/93, p.151
"...Tony Bennett's STEPPIN' OUT finds him reviving Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin songs that Fred Astaire introduced...Bennett [is] as much a treasure as any of these jewels...."
Spin - 12/93, p.122
Highly Recommended - "...[STEPPIN' OUT] is a wonderful album. Bennett's voice regenerates standards [into] something entirely new and fresh...Bennett penetrates to the soul..."
Entertainment Weekly - 10/8/93, p.50
"...[Tony Bennett] may never make another album more exquisitely matched to his personal traits [than] STEPPIN' OUT..." - Rating: A-
Personnel: Tony Bennett (vocals); Ralph Sharon (piano); Doug Richeson (bass); Clayton Cameron (drums).
Recorded at Clinton Recording Studio, New York, New York. Includes liner notes by Tony Bennett.
STEPPIN' OUT contains songs written for Broadway by popular American composers in the 1930s and 1940s and includes works by George and Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter.
This highly successful 1993 tribute to Fred Astaire--the video for the title tune established Bennett as a MTV artist for a spell--was the inevitable followup to the previous year's Frank Sinatra tribute PERFECTLY FRANK. In both cases, the pretext of a tribute allowed Bennett to take his pick of demonstrably superior songs and record them accompanied only by the great Ralph Sharon Trio. The result is as close as many of us will get to hearing Bennett and company at a small club on a great night.
The Astaire set is a more light-hearted affair than the Sinatra. However, Bennett's commitment to songs such as "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "Dancing In The Dark" is unquestioned. He performs them with as much verve, wisdom and sheer joy in singing as an entertainer with 40-plus years experience can muster. His voice might be a little rough in spots, but no matter, since that makes his right-on-target climaxes all the more exhilirating. There are few (if any) examples of a singer sounding this good as he ages.